There was a time when I was taking yoga classes at a dance studio, wherein I found myself stretching my lightly marbled thighs next to size 0 Asian girls who could bend over and lick their own bunghole if they wanted to.
Well, let's back track a little. I learned and loved dance in my late teens. I entered a renaissance period as I approached 30 and started taking classes to re-experience the joy dance had given me as a teenager. But, in my second go-around, it turned out that I hated ballet. And the studio didn't schedule any modern dance classes, which was the really fun stuff, for after work. So I ended up with these class credits that I needed to use up, which I did by taking the aforementioned yoga classes.
It was discouraging, grunting and straining next to these wispy, rubbery dancers. My self–esteem took some serious hits. But I wasn't going to walk away having pre-paid for classes. My stinginess won out, and I ended up continuing with the yoga even after I had used up my original class credits.
What helped a lot was that I really really liked the yoga instructor, Tobias. He was a tiny guy with dark curls. When I did Cobbler's Pose, he would, from behind, lay his hands on the base of my neck, put his right foot on my right thigh, and his left foot on my left thigh, and stand on them while pushing my torso forward in order to help me deepen the pose. That's how small he was. Or how big I was, depending on your point-of-view.
This is a rambling, nostalgic way to get to what Tobias used to tell me. In response, no doubt, to some grumblings of discouragement from me, he responded that he was more interested in watching the students who struggled in class than in watching the students who could asana 'til the cows came home. In other words, he preferred standing on my non-dancer thighs than watching the dancers gracefully tie themselves into knots.
The dancers are my metaphor for "shiny happy people." I’m sure you've seen them in your own lives – people with a special light, who make something you're endeavoring to master look like peeling a banana, like something anyone could master with minimal instruction. It is difficult to not become jealous of shiny happy people. And this jealousy spawns exceptional significance in the spirituality context.