We have seen in the last two articles of this series, there are certain qualities that make us shine in every aspect of our lives. However, it is important to ask ourselves whether we aim to shine for the right reasons. Do we want to wear the positive qualities as we would wear an item of statement jewellery, to be admired by others? Do we want to tick them off a ‘to-be’ list of sorts? Do we want to use them as steps on the ladder of success? Or do we realise how they are actually crafting and building our character?
This little story speaks of one such quality:
During civil wars in Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived–that is, everyone except a Zen master who lived in a temple. Curious about this old fellow, the General of the army went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn't treated with the respect and fear that he was used to, the general had an angry outburst. ‘You fool’, he shouted as he reached for his sword, ‘don't you realise that you are standing before a man who could run this sword through you without blinking an eye!’ Despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved. ‘And do you realise’, the master replied calmly, ‘that you are standing before a man through whom a sword can be run and he wouldn’t blink an eye?’
That’s the thing about spiritual vigour–it holds up in good times and bad and by itself gives you protection from all that would otherwise be feared.
What are the other qualities Sri Krishna tells Arjuna about?
Forgiveness is strength. Extending a hand to let someone know that there are no hard feelings releases a great burden of negativity.
Do I need to be comforted in tough times or am I a source of comfort to others? In difficult times we will cry and wail if we think of our own loss. But we will remain strong if we think of others and of how we can help them.
Be it our room or our body, it will demand less attention from us in the long run if it is clean. Then the mind is available to focus on more important things.
Freedom from hatred
Even if we never understand love, we can certainly decide to be free from hatred. Hatred is not the opposite of love. Love has no opposite. It is absolute in itself, with no comparison. Hatred makes itself known in that it causes us to feel terrible. Not only does it hurt others but it also hurts us. It is the most dangerous weapon in the world.
Absence of vanity
Pride and arrogance are unattractive qualities to say the least, and respect can’t be demanded. We often overestimate ourselves but we must remember that things go on very well without us, often even better than when we are around!
The qualities mentioned in these three articles should serve as a checklist for us. Which ones do I have? Which ones do I need to work on? Perform this internal audit and become qualified for bigger and better!