As anyone who runs a business knows, it’s not a bad idea to please your customers. Respecting your employees might even be a good idea, depending on whom you ask.
But outside of the workplace, if we look at life in general… whom are we trying to please in our lives when we are not at work, and how much effort and energy are we putting into it?
Here’s a very rare – an unbelievably rare – perspective:
The first thing we learned from Sri Ramakrishna was to pay no attention to the opinion of others. He used to say: ‘Spit on public opinion! Look toward God and try to please him!’1
– Swami Turiyananda (1863-1922)
In the bible Jesus says:
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember… If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…2
In other words, if you love God, the world might not always congratulate you for it. The way Jesus puts it might sound harsh to some, but let’s consider: if a woman worships money, jewelry and Mercedes Benzes above all else, she might feel uncomfortable around anyone that does not share her sense of priorities. Or if a man harbors certain prejudices, he might dislike anyone that does not share his mindset. Whereas if you are endeavoring to be free of all that, which of these folks is going to congratulate you?
So we could ask ourselves… who do we want to be liked by, who are we trying to please, who are we working for?
. . .
. . .
. . .
Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.4
- What was the first thing Ramakrishna taught Swami Turiyananda, according to the latter’s testimony?
- About how old are you now, and what are all the kinds of people you have tried to please throughout your life?5 And how did all of that work out?
- What factors do you take into account when making decisions? If you focus on trying to “look good” for other people, does this get in the way of hearing God better?