Tolerating Honor and Dishonor

One of the dualities we face in life is the duality of honor and dishonor. To tolerate dishonor is very difficult. When you are dishonored, you get angry or depressed depending on the person who dishonors and the circumstances in which you are dishonored. In anger, some people even pull out a weapon and declare war against those who offend them. In depression, some people just remove themselves from society, go to a lonely place, and cry.

The saying goes that for one who is honored, dishonor is worse than death. However, even more difficult than tolerating dishonor, is to tolerate honor without becoming proud. Saint Paul of the Christian faith said, “Pride comes before the fall.” The very integrity of ones humanness is destroyed when there is egotism and false pride.

How to tolerate this duality of honor and dishonor? The consciousness of a person who is at an elevated state is like the ocean. The ocean, because of its vast depth, is not disturbed by the changes that may take place surrounding it. In the rainy season, sometimes rivers several kilometers in width pour huge quantities of water into the ocean and in the summers the same rivers may become small streams. Does either situation disturb the ocean? Not at all, because of the volume and depth of the ocean. Similarly, a person who finds voluminous fulfillment and peace within his soul is not affected by the ever-changing external circumstances. Sometimes honor may come his/her way and sometimes dishonor may come his/her, but he/she is least affected by that.