I could feel my happy bubbly bursting over Facebook. The hundreds of postings about the people all so happy, all so successful and all so enjoying life. I started sharing their happiness and then as the days wore on it started to irk me, I could no longer feel happy for them and that is when I pushed the delete account button.
Patanjali says there are 4 locks and 4 keys in our life to guide us towards being at ease, peaceful and serene. He tells us there are 4 types of people we will meet (the 4 locks) and 4 ways for us to deal with them ( the 4 keys) or ways to cultivate a different attitude.
Friendliness towards the happy people.
Do you always feel friendly and happy towards people that are successful and doing well? Sometimes we can feel jealousy. I felt it this week when all my teacher friends went away on a retreat and I stayed behind and taught the classes for them. They were having fun, they were learning and relaxing, they were warm and happy. When we don’t feel happy towards those that are successful we may gossip about them or not be so kind to them. This doesn’t really do anything except affect our peace of mind. Better to share in their good fortune and celebrate what they have achieved than to harbor bad feelings about some one elses good fortune.
Compassion towards the unhappy people.
Sometimes we might feel that someone who is unhappy has deserved their fate. Maybe they did something stupid or were thoughtless and now they are suffering. Maybe they did something to us and we want them to be unhappy so we are not so kind to them. Maybe we thought some where that the person deserved what they got? Patanjali says for our own peace of mind we should help those in need, be merciful and forgiving and try to feel compassion towards the unhappy whatever the cause of their situation is.
Delight in the virtuous people.
Are you always delighted by someone’s good work? Do you enjoy the office worker that works hard when you are not, goes beyond the call of duty to help when you can’t? Do you label people ‘do-gooders’ in a negative way. Patanjali says when you see someone virtuous doing good work don’t try to pull them down, instead try to emulate their qualities into your own life.
Disregard towards the wicked people.
When we come across someone who is bad how do we react? Do we want to hurt that person also? Do we want to make them suffer just like they make us or others suffer? The advice Patanjali gives us is to cultivate indifference not towards the deed but towards the person. This doesn’t mean turn away, ignore, not care or not act when we need to but to develop an attitude where others behaviour doesn’t affect us as much. We can witness the action and not be so reactive. We do what we need to do to negate the bad behaviour but we are no longer swayed by our emotions which can sometimes make us ineffective.
Practice for today: Keep the four keys with you today, friendliness, compassion, gladness and indifference. If you use the right key with the right person nothing in the world can upset you.