A man walked in to a doctor’s office and said, “Doctor, I have this awful headache that never leaves me. Could you give me something for it?”
“I will,” said the doctor, “But I want to check a few things out first. Tell me, do you drink a lot of liquor?”
“I never touch the filthy stuff,” said the man indignantly.
“How about smoking?”
“I think smoking is disgusting. I’ve never in my life touched tobacco.”
“I’m a bit embarrassed to ask this, but…you know the way some men are…do you do any running around at night?”
“Of course not. What do you take me for? I’m in bed every night by ten o’clock at the latest.”
“Tell me,” said the doctor, “this pain in the head you speak of, is it a sharp, shooting kind of pain?”
“Yes,” said the man. “That’s it – a sharp, shooting kind of pain.”
“Simple my dear fellow! Your trouble is you have your halo on a bit too tight.”
Adapted from Anthony de Mello’s ‘The Pray of the Frog’
While having a good laugh as my husband read this one out to me, it really struck a chord too. I began to think of myself when I first had a very deep spiritual experience. I was all of 16 then and somehow, it was so easy for me to start being self-righteous. I began to judge people according to the choices they made and began to feel that I was better than them all. God help anyone hanging around with certain kind of people, dressing in a certain way, listening to certain music, spending time at certain places. They were not good people and needed to change….Self-righteous people can be really intolerable and I was fast becoming that.
The danger of self-righteousness is that you think you have all the answers. It took a lot of bad choices on my part to become more open, more accepting and not so judgmental.
Now I smile to myself when I encounter self-righteous people – and keep a watch on my own inclination to act that way.
May you be inspired – everyday!
PS: My sincere apologies for being so tardy with responding to your lovely comments – they are much appreciated. And I will respond – I promise.