Good manners will get you far – at least that’s what the etiquette books say – but will it bring you enhanced spirituality? Will refraining from belching, cursing or kissing in public bring you closer to your higher power? There certainly is a connection.
Consider what happens when you’re seated at a restaurant and the people around you are dining quietly, chewing with their mouths closed and using inoffensive words in their conversation. Could you almost hear the angels sing above the din of champagne corks being popped? Maybe, maybe not. But you’ll feel much more emotionally at peace than you would at, say, a burger joint where music is blasting, people are wiping their mouths on their sleeves and peppering each sentence with four-letter words.
When one shows good manners – offering their seat on the bus to the elderly or infirm, holding a door open for the person behind them – they lift themselves to a higher level of consciousness. The act of showing good manners, after all, is something that we do primarily for others. Therefore, when we display good manners, we are putting other’s needs before our own and dwelling on how our behavior affects others. Spiritually, this is impressive. It also separates us from other animals because, no matter how much you love Fido or Tabby, let’s face it, it would never occur to either of those furballs to tidy up after they eat, out of courtesy to you.
A display of respect
Furthermore, one is never too young to reach a higher level of spirituality through daily acts of kindness, good manners and respect. In Japanese karate, students are reminded to show courtesy to the sensei (teachers) and black belts, which reminds them not only of their position in the class, but teaches them discipline and the importance of being respectful and displaying proper manners. Even seven-year-olds understand this (which is a blessing for their parents).
In addition, there is something to be said about the great feeling that washes over you when you display great courtesy to others. Acts of kindness are met not only with sincere thanks, but that goose bump, good-all-over feeling that occurs when you’ve just stepped onto a higher plane of understanding and connection with others. This is what spirituality is about, right?
And chew on this for a moment: When one is truly spiritual, they tend to take the behavioral high road. You can’t imagine a Buddhist monk spitting on the sidewalk, a rabbi cursing at someone or a minister bumping into someone without apologizing. Therefore, those who follow an enlightened lifestyle are more likely to treat others as they would have others treat them. That would mean that one’s manners would be impeccable (or at least a work-in-progress towards perfection) and respect would be shown to all around us.
Think about that: If everyone were to behave well and show mutual respect, wouldn’t the world be a better place?
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