“An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). An attitude can be defined as a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, event, activities, ideas, or just about anything in your environment” (Source: Wikipedia)
But, this ‘Attitude’ plays a major role in our daily lives. We interact with people, places and the objects all the time. It is not possible to avoid any of these interactions because life cannot be action-less. What does attitude do to a person who is spiritually aware ? How does the same surroundings appear to him or her ?
I recollect, what happened during my last visit to the Chinmaya Mission Ashram at Powai (in Mumbai) on 27th February 2004. Incidentally, CCMT Chief or the Global head, Swami Tejomayananda (addressed as ‘Guruji’ by his disciples or followers) was in Mumbai and he was in the Ashram on that particular day. I inquired with the Ashram officials as to where he was in the Ashram at that moment and met him. Guruji was busy guiding/ correcting a young writer on how to write an essay or an article on certain topic assigned to her by Guruji. I decided to wait for my turn to interact with him, but quickly sat on the floor along with few others who were visiting Guruji on that day. Everyone of them touched his feet after their meeting and departed to their place of work or home. I did not want to touch his feet since I was not very sure whether I want to do or not. I met him and asked him a query that I do not remember what was the question now, but I was not satisfied with his answer. I turned and walked away without touching his feet. Guruji called me from behind, ‘hey bhagyawan !’ and offered me two oranges which I gladly accepted and I reluctantly touched his feet and walked away out of the Ashram. Both the oranges were partially rotten and I had to throw both of them on my way out of the Ashram, as I could not eat them. I was wondering why did Guruji give me such partially rotten oranges ? I was wondering whether it was because I was reluctant to touch his feet ? or Is it because Guruji did not have a satisfactory answer to my question ? Certainly not ! It all depends on how we perceive what we experience. It is all related to the attitude we possess. We perceive based on our state of mind or the attitude.
Attitude really matters in life. Quite often, we are influenced by our perception, thinking or intellect and our expectations. For me, Swami Chinmayananda remains to be a learned master of reverence and I was trying to compare Guruji with Swami Chinmayananda. Well, that is not correct at all. What we think about ourselves decides on how we act or react towards others. We gauge others through our glasses of own perception and start drawing boundaries around ourselves thereby alienating ourselves unknowingly and much worse, at times even knowingly. Universal brotherhood does not propagate alienation of any spiritual seeker. I recommend, spirituality opens the closed doors of every mind. In fact, it is essential to be spiritual for everyone to lead a happy life.
Let me emphasize and re-iterate, ‘Self-knowledge’ alone is responsible for this change of mind in me. Perception can be self-defeating, when it is accompanied by an erroneous or ego-driven intellect. I have learned in the last 10 years or so, there is a process called the ‘evolutionary enlightenment’ ( as the other spiritual master Andrew Cohen refers to it !) and this process does not end at any point of time. Instead, it continues and brings about a change in attitude of the seeker every day and at every moment. As a result, there is lasting happiness in him or her and this feeling is un-ending. I have discussed about this with few more learned spiritual seekers I am in constant touch with. Today, I consider myself as ‘blessed’ though my daily life is the same as it was earlier for the onlooker. But, there is an attitudinal change in me ! I look at people, places and the objects quite differently.