If someone is better than me at something, then that means they can teach me a lesson. If someone is a screw-up, they can serve as a cautionary tale. Either way they can still help me, and I get to improve no matter what.
There’s no need to hold a grudge or be vindictive; there’s too much to learn, too much to accomplish.
Regardless of my beliefs/suspicions concerning the underlying nature of reality, it seems that if I take phenomena instance by instance, without giving into the emotional whirlpool fostered by the idea that intangible forces are for or against me, then I am simply solving problems, advancing through levels, and enjoying the challenge of managing my energy.
In this way, life becomes an amusing game that honors our laughable insignificance–we’re tiny little specks, marooned on a mudball that’s hurling through infinity–WITHOUT wallowing in the cynical muck of unproductive nihilism.
I’ve known quite a few people who claim to prize some amorphous concept called “spirituality,” which they define as springing from the mystical premise that the divine is in everything, and consequently, inseparable from all phenomena and all points of reference.
These people go on to deem one particular object “spiritual,” and another not, one mode of living “spiritual,” and another not, never realizing that the premise they adore is nested in an uncomfortable implication: if everything is divine, then everything is “spiritual” as well.
I realized that for these people (who never seem to venture beyond the comfort of their obscure “spiritual” practices, justifying lack of results with more time on the meditation cushion, or reading/evangelizing some centuries-old text) it was never about embodying an omnipresent truth; it was about defining a certain way of being that allowed them to play the untenable game of one thing being “spiritual,” and another not.
In other words, it was merely about feeling good; transcendence was a smokescreen.