Competitive spirituality - man on mountain topIn order to succeed in life, you have to compete. Some say life is a zero-sum game. And they’re right, of course. There are winners and there are losers. And nowhere is this truer than in the game of your spiritual quest. It’s not enough anymore to be “good.” You have to be the best.

I am widely regarded as an expert on competitive spirituality. Not to brag, but it’s just a matter of time before I overtake the Dalai Lama on the footpath to enlightenment. The Dalai Lama once told me over a latte at Starbucks, “My religion is kindness.”  Well, I’m here to tell you:  My kindness is better than yours, Dalaiman.

In order to achieve spiritual supremacy, you have to demonstrate your supremacy. Oh sure, it can sound arduous. You’re probably asking yourself, “What do I have to do? Go on a 2,000 mile trek across the Gobi Desert? Fast for a month in a cave? Climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but a toga and sandals?”  Slow down, Skippy. Those journeys are way more hassle than they’re worth – plus you’d almost certainly miss out on Opening Day of Baseball.

No, my tactics for achieving spiritual superiority are far less taxing. Many can be achieved while lying on the couch. You see, most people behave passive-aggressively. Outsmart them by being aggressively passive. They won’t know what hit ’em.

You will want to casually drop loaded words into everyday conversations to intimidate your friends and co-workers. For example, aura, chi (pronounced “chee”), and chakra. Don’t worry if you don’t know what any of these mean. Trust me, your golfing buddies won’t either, but they will feel a pang of inadequacy. And you’ll move one square past them on the board game of Life.

One of my favorites to throw around is shadow. In addition to being a great name for a motorcycle or your black kitty, it also refers to areas of your life you’re afraid to face. This word is best used in the form of a question any time your boss gets on your case for dropping the ball. Just smile, tilt your head slightly, and gently reply, “Bob, you say you’re displeased with my work performance. Are you sure your discontentment isn’t about your own shadow?”  Then bow and walk out the door. Problem solved.

Competitive spirituality - ShadowWhenever somebody asks you to do something that you don’t feel like doing, simply respond thus: “I’m not able to do that, [insert NAME here], but I affirm you for asking.” Then smile warmly. For extra effect, try bestowing them a necklace of beads. Bestowing is always a nice touch.

Here are some other excellent words you can use to let people know you’re just a little more spiritually enlightened than they will ever be:

Journey: I am sorry I failed to pick up the dry cleaning on my way home, like you asked. I had to take a little detour on my spiritual journey.

Abundance: I’m not sure why you keep asking me to repay that $500 you lent me last May. If you just open up your heart, you’ll see that the universe is abundant.

Energy: Honey, I know you wanted me to rake the leaves today, but I decided to channel my energy towards listening to my aura, which told me I would find my inner bliss in quiet solitude (code for watching the game in your man cave).

The key is to redefine all your acts of selfish, lazy, or self-absorbed behavior as steps on your pathway towards truth and enlightenment.

If you want to take your spiritual game to the next level, when in a conversation, make a point of smiling softly and holding eye contact for uncomfortably long periods of time, preferably without blinking. Not only will you come across as thoughtful (and perhaps a bit creepy), but you’ll get the added bonus of making others feel embarrassingly shallow. Practice by staring at your dog. But I must warn you, he’s an expert at this game.

Another fun technique to impress and discomfort your friends is to randomly jump into various yoga poses. Say your co-worker starts telling you a boring story about his seven-year-old’s latest T-ball game. Simply raise your arms to the sky in a Warrior One pose and act like nothing is happening. Maintain locked eye contact the entire time. If he asks you what you’re doing, just tell him that you’re re-adjusting your chakras. Trust me. He’ll feel too intimidated to ask for clarification.

Competitive spirituality - WoodyWord of caution: Don’t try yoga’s downward-facing dog position while driving. Your visibility can become limited, and I discovered it’s really hard on your back.

Finally, whenever you start or end a conversation, put your hands together, bow slightly and mutter Namaste (pronounced “Nah-Mah-Stay”). It’s a term based on the Hindu belief that there is a divine spark within each of us located in – oh Hell. It really doesn’t matter what it means. But just keep bowing, smiling, and Namaste-ing, and you’ll be on the inside track towards spirituality victory over your friends.

I wish you peace, my friend. Mind you, not as much peace as I wish for myself, but more peace than for anybody else on your Neighborhood Watch list. 

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base. Namaste.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS:  If you enjoyed this week’s post, please let me know by sharing it on Facebook, posting a comment or giving it a Like.  

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015

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