Nowadays, there is much talk about courtesy. Almost everybody tries to pretend to be courteous. Is this real courtesy or merely a superficial show? Indeed, courtesy can render the material aspect of life very easy. Much tension and worry can be eliminated through it. Courtesy, however, is a by-product of a sane and transformed mind. A sick mind, a tired and miserable mind cannot afford to be courteous, but the lamentable fact is that most of humanity is sick. We do not have to debate over it: our schools, hospitals, the society as a whole is a clear reflection of this fact. What should be done then?
Mind transformation is the key to all virtues including courtesy. One cannot remain courteous for long superficially, for the monster of unconsciousness will definitely assert itself sooner or later. The whole of the mind should become religious, but by this I do not mean a “bourage de crâne” of religious precepts and commandments. A religious mind is a mind freed from worries, tensions, ambitions and all sorts of distractions. It is a mind which is alive, alert, stable, not conditioned by prejudices, beliefs and superstitions. A mind disentangled from the identification of the notion that ‘I am only a body’ is a religious mind. A heart overflowing with love and respect is a religious mind. Love brings respect and respect leads to courtesy. Therefore, we should not seek to teach courtesy, but we should insist on undergoing a transformation of both heart and mind, the result of which will be courtesy and other virtues.
Presently, both of these two states through which the soul can express itself are impure. They are filled with greed, lust, hatred, jealousy and so on, and the root of all these is the ego which is the illusive self with which man strongly identifies himself. We may hold all sorts of seminars discussing on courtesy, we may read a lot of religious books, yet we may not be courteous for this virtue called courtesy is the modification of the inner state of a transformed mind. The transformation of the mind is a whole process to be followed under the guidance of an illumined being.
Can there be courtesy when competition is raging on all levels of society? Are egocentric people courteous? And who is not egocentric! Today, people use courtesy as a business and political tool. On board airplanes, in hotels, banks and other commercial places, the keyword is quality service. But is this done because we love each other or is it a tactic employed to attract customers? To appear good, people wear the mask of courtesy, but to be really courteous is something totally different. Courtesy is the flavour of an awakened mind.
Therefore, let us decide first whether we are ready to undergo the surgery of both mind and heart transformation. This is the crucial and decisive ‘enjeu’ of the moment.