Not Egoistic, Just Selective!
Be Careful What Company You Keep.
I was arranging my maternal grandpa’s bed when I got the idea of today’s post. Literally ‘out of bed’ idea! My grandpa is a ‘devoted’ smoker, and an astray always lay beside his pillow. When I was straightening the bedsheet, the astray turned over and the ashes and a few remnants of burned tobacco fell on the bed. And this thought came to me: “He keeps the company of astray. Now it’ll obviously have its consequences!”
And I had an important insight: it’s important to be careful of what company we keep. Doesn’t matter if it’s humans, things, accessories or even thoughts. The company we keep shapes us in many subtle and obvious ways. We are tremendously attached to things we own, for example, no? And what to even say of thoughts! They are our life! Thoughts are the trickiest company to deal with.
At all levels, we have to be selective as to what company we are keeping. If you surround yourself with violent, confused and unsupportive people, slowly you’ll be one of them. That’s the power of sanga. That’s why it has always been advised to keep wise company, company of the holy people. Or at least, good company. Similarly, if you surround yourself with unnecessary things, your mind will be cluttered in no time.
I was always an introverted person. I never had many friends. Only two or three close ones. I never sought anybody’s friendship either. Because of this reason, many times, a lot of friends and others have considered me as an egoistic person—who walks with his own air. But that’s not who I am. They just misjudged me. And I have been subjected to this accusation a lot of times. But the thing with me was that I was simply not seeking company. I was selective. And it’s important to move in this world with a little bit of selectiveness.
Whatever is not supportive of your growth, simply doesn’t deserve your attention. That has been my approach. And I have slowly applied this principle to things also— like I don’t buy or gather things that I really don’t need. I have pushed it still further—I have tried to do the same with my mind also. I have tried to build a ‘mental zone’ where I can comfortably stay, keeping only those things that are beneficial to and supportive of my growth. Pursuing this line of effort, I am very selective as to what to study and what not; which people to be with and which to avoid; what to consume on social media platforms and what to shun. By the way, I have a separate post on this. It’s titled: Customize Your Social Media Feed. Read it sometime.
Having said all this, this does not mean we should live in a cocoon of our self-made walls. This should not turn into egocentrism. As a lotus lives and dies in a pool of murky water, but doesn’t get stained by it, similarly, we should live in this world—untouched by external influences.
Let others think what they like, you know that you’re just caring for your soul.