My Attitude is Everything?
What? You mean the old adage; “attitude is everything,” applies to my attitude, not yours? But if spiritual or personal growth philosophies and practices are more effective when applied to oneself, doesn’t that take all the fun out of dropping smug, self-improvement quips into polite conversation?
I recently met a Yoga instructor obsessed with karma*–specifically, other people’s karma. She uses karma’s approach of personal responsibility for one’s own destiny to measure other people with her karmic yardstick. And then she slaps ‘em with it. A favorite phrase of hers is, “Well that’s not karmically cool,” usually followed by “jerk-face,” or “idiot.” Now I admit, I’m not a Yogi, nor do I play one on TV, but I’m guessing the spirit of karma’s core lesson is getting lost in her translation.
It’s funny how this external preoccupation with the behavior of others occurs sometimes with passionate devotees of any particular belief system or practice. The “Way” becomes more like their “Right of Way.” I get it. All of us are a bundle of contradictions between what we practice and what we preach. But occasionally I run across folks who, when they believe they’ve mastered a higher rung on the metaphysical ladder, use said rung to clobber anyone “below” them.
But, grasshopper, if you really master any rung on your ladder to enlightenment you may see that it’s not a ladder at all, and there isn’t anyone below or above you on your uniquely individual journey. Spiritual growth is really more of a ‘personal best’ activity than a competition. It’s about challenging yourself to be better each new day.
Ultimately, I don’t think any of us will be called upon to critique someone else’s life flashing before our eyes. It’s equally hard for me to imagine that Buddha, Jesus or even Yoda is waiting to high-five us because we gold-medaled in the most “Enlightened, Evolved & Illuminated” triathlon. But maybe, and I’m no expert here, it might be “karmically cool” to be the one who forfeits the race entirely to offer love and support to those who stumble, fall or are just in need of encouragement.
Of course I’m not certain if my understanding of any of this is true, but it feels right for me. And my attitude is everything, after all. Or so I’ve often been told.
*Karma is the concept in Indian religions of cause and effect–positive actions deliver positive consequences, negative actions return negative. The Christian equivalent might be “you reap what you sow.” Or, if you prefer secular, “What goes around, comes around.” (Paraphrased from Wikipedia)
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There is so much divinity in the everyday!