Radical Respect

Water MIrroring Sky
June 2, 2021

Does the project of earning respect make sense in light of the View of Trika Shaivism? What is respect, for reals? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Student: Earning someone’s respect—is that real? Does it happen? Is it important? How does it work in our tradition to have to earn someone’s respect, or someone has to earn my respect? Can you riff on that for me, because I’m confused about that.

Shambhavi: Well, the absolute teaching is, of course, that everyone is of absolutely equal value.

Recognizing that is tantamount to enlightenment, or some version of that. Recognizing and living in, embodying, the equality of all phenomena means that you would have already encountered the fundamental nature of reality. You would have recognized, through your own senses, that every being, every object, every circumstance, every world has equality because they are all created by and made of the same self-aware subject—the supreme Self.

So although everything has a completely unique dimension, and we’re living in a massive upsurge of diversity, every single thing that’s happening—every circumstance we’re in no matter how wonderful or horrible, and every person, no matter how much we like them or don’t like them—has total equality.

And on that basis, if we were hooked up to that experience first hand, if we really embodied it, we would have fundamental respect for every being. And that would show up as, kind of working with people in a way and relating to people in a way that, if someone doesn’t want to dance, we don’t try to dance with them. That is a fundamental aspect of respect. If someone doesn’t want to dance the way we dance, we let them dance their own way. That’s a fundamental aspect of respect.

That being said, very, very few people on the planet are having that experience of the fundamental equality of all phenomena. So then we have to go to the relative view of respect. And the relative view of respect means that we take responsibility for how we’re showing up, and we don’t expect other people to be the source of our happiness or of us having a good life.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.