A big struggle of mine at this time is learning to love people I don’t necessarily like. I wanted to share a quick excerpt from the book Buddhist Boot Camp. The next time you feel you need to prove you are right, or start to get frustrated that someone else doesn’t see things your way, take a moment to come back to this.
The Opposite of What You Know Is Also True
“You don’t have to agree with, only learn to personally live with, other people’s freedom of choice. This includes (but is not limited to) political views, religious beliefs, dietary restrictions, matters of the heart, career paths and mental afflictions.
Our opinions and beliefs tend to change depending on time, place and circumstance, and since we all experience life differently, there are multiple theories on what’s best, what’s moral, what’s right and what’s wrong.
It is important to remember that other people’s perspective on reality is as valid as your own. This is why the first principle of Buddhist Boot Camp is that the opposite if what you know is also true.
No matter how certain we are of our version of the truth, we must humbly accept the possibility that someone who believes the exact opposite could also be right (according to their time, place and circumstance). This is the key to forgiveness, patience and understanding.
That said, tolerance does not mean accepting what is harmful. Oftentimes the lesson we are to learn is when to say “no” the right time to walk away and when to remove ourselves from the very cause of anguish. After all, we are the ones who create the environment we live in.
While staying with different host families around the world over the last years, I noticed that people’s definition of everyday words like “comfortable” and “clean” we’re often very different then my own. The opposite of what I considered true proved to be just as true for others, which was very humbling.
If two people can have very different definitions of what “walking distance” means, imagine bigger words like “right” “wrong” “God” and “love”.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. – Richard Bach