- by Dr Craig
What comes to your mind regarding the topic of “politeness?” Until recently, I mostly thought about the concept in terms of behaving in a very considerate manner. Sincerity is important as well. Don’t you agree? Someone may exhibit conventional expectations for politeness at a high level yet not really convey an attitude of sincere honoring of the others’ spiritual nature.
My conception of politeness has deepened since I began walking the Sufi path nearly two years ago. Now, politeness is an attitude towards all of creation, and I strive to live in politeness as much as is humanly possible. Politeness, in this sense, is a discipline required for spiritual awakening.
Politeness in Sufi walking is not a superficial following of courteous guidelines. It is maintaining an attitude of recognizing the presence of God in everyone and everything. This doesn’t mean that we don’t speak forcefully and take assertive action for the sake of justice, but it does mean that whatever we do we do it with an attitude of love and as much respect as we can muster. Politeness is required for world peace, because it is a consciousness of the underlying Oneness and interconnectedness of spiritual reality.
To me, politeness is honoring the reality that every person who I deal with is a part of God, is a spirit. Of course, it can be difficult for my personality to maintain that focus when someone appears to be aggressive toward me without a willingness to problem solve.
Nonetheless, I strive to maintain awareness that everything is happening as it should in my life at any given moment in time, and that my job is to use my intention, awareness, thinking and action in the service of God=Love. This is strength. It is not weakness. You may boldly and fiercely take action, and do it with an attitude of love.
I see deep politeness, as I have briefly sketched above, as a sign of spiritual intelligence. I feel more peace and love when I walk with politeness, and the world looks more beautiful. I have also discovered how difficult conflict situations with others are resolved and healed to a much greater extent, sometimes amazingly so, without me negating my needs or feelings. Be deeply polite and live an empowered life. I frequently ask myself if I am walking with politeness, and when I realize that I am not I most often have the discipline in spite of the urges of my personality.
With love and gratitude,
Craig Oster, PhD