The desire for respect and recognition runs deep. They say that at the age of 20 we are extremely worried about what people think of us, by the time we reach 40 we don't really care anymore, and eventually when we reach 60 we realise nobody was thinking about us anyway! In a discussion at the temple recently a senior monk was explaining how many people who spend thousands of pounds on flash sports cars are not really buying the metal and mechanics - what they are buying is the adoration, respect and stunned looks of others. It takes a lot of energy to get recognised in this world... but is it really worth it?
As we respect and appreciate others around us, we feel a satisfaction and fulfilment that is far beyond any kind of personal aggrandizement. Real happiness lies in a spirit of selflessness where we are sensitive to the needs, interests and concerns of others, and more eager to bring attention and recognition to them. Abraham Lincoln once said “it’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t care for getting the credit”.
Pride blocks our intelligence and discrimination, and prevents us from uncovering our true spiritual identity. If we are ‘full of it’, there is no room for spiritual happiness to manifest within our heart. Thus, as our tree of spirituality grows, it is essential that the roots of humility go deep, and the weeds of pride are immediately removed. As humble as a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, and ready to offer all respects to others, not desiring any respect for oneself – these are the cardinal principles of spiritual life.