Sunday, June 5, 2016

June Message

I have come to realize that there is a fine line between Arrogance and Pride.

This fine line has been avoided totally by putting pride in the same category as arrogance.
I think there is nothing wrong with pride. It is good to be proud of your accomplishments. By going in the other direction, and think we aren't good enough for anything, I believe, is actually more harmful. Just as there is a fine line between Arrogance and Pride, there is a fine line between Humility and Self-Disparagement.

Some people feel that being humble means you have to put yourself down, but that is not the case. Being humble simply is that you do not brag to others, or feel yourself better than others. In our list of Dusts of the Mind, Arrogance is a very strong one. It encompasses other "dusts" as well. By being arrogant, we practice self-love, or loving only yourself. Sometimes it awakens covetousness, or another word in this case may be envy. This is especially if you find someone else might be "better" than you or getting close to be; and this dust uncovers greed. Eventually anger and then hatred. It is definitely a dust that will awaken others, so it is naturally one that we would like to avoid.

But let us keep in mind, that in Tenrikyo, our goal is not to avoid dusts, but to sweep them away. Oyasama, our Foundress, has said that if you sealed a home, that dusts will still enter. We, as humans, will be gathering dust, we just need to sweep them away. One way, of course is doing the Service. The Service is amazing. If you put your all into it, the singing and the hand movements will calm you and put you in a position of better perspective. Other than the Service is to do other things that counter the dust.

We do need to be careful though. If it is arrogance that we carry, we may try to help others in the areas we feel we are good at, it may increase your arrogance, such as wanting/needing to take credit or having a need to be recognized.

Having pride does not mean you are not humble. Criticizing yourself severely does not mean you are practicing humility. It is okay to have pride. Here is are some ways to recognize the difference between pride and arrogance. If you do something well, and you are happy with it, that is pride. If you need to tell others of your accomplishment, then it becomes a step toward arrogance. "But we need to be honest if people ask," you say. Yes, that is true, so if you need to tell others so that you get credit, and that becomes important, then it is a step toward arrogance; if you need to tell others because they ask and demand the truth, then it probably isn't. If you are happy with your progress, but someone else does the finishing touches, and you are okay with it, that is pride. If it had to be you that delivers the last touches, it is arrogance.

So how should we react if we are complimented? Say, "thank you." Believe it or not, sometimes telling others, "no, you're wrong, what I did isn't that good," is not an act of humility, but rather an act of  arrogance. We're telling others that they are wrong. It is not the intent, but it is what the action is. But we do not want to increase the "big-headedness" by saying thank you? Then we can add, "you are very kind; I did not realize that what I did was that important. Thank you."

To all of you, Thank you for your contributions everyday.