We See Things As We Are

We do not see things as they are...

We see them as we are...

So teaches the Talmud - the oral tradition of Jewish teaching - encompassing centuries of instruction and commentaries from thousands of learned Rabbis. The teachings of Talmud are holy - and they are vested with the utmost authority...

"We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."

Thus also wrote -
Anaïs Nin...

The Buddha taught something similar - all existence is conditioned...

I am reminded of this as dear and educated friends - on both sides of the political spectrum direct their invectives on the opposing side - each camp claiming to be the purveyor of truth. And while I may have my own personal sympathies and leanings - the truth is - no one side or party can truly stake a claim to offering all the solutions to our problems - or to being the champion of truth - or the only way to salvation...

We are all human beings... We have the same needs and wants and desires - it does not matter if we are black or white - live in the East or West - or the North or South. It does not matter if we were born here - or came here. But we may have different ideas of how to live our lives and how to best insure our futures...

I have always prided myself in being able to be conversant with diverse populations. Maybe it is because I come from a long line of diplomats. As such, I learned that there are acceptable ways to engage in discourse - and there are ways that are not. You will not win me over by talking at me - or being offensive. But, you can always persuade me to examine things I may not have considered. I have always welcomed intelligent and informed discussions...

We see things as we are - we see them as how we were brought up - we see things through the lens of our religious traditions or chosen affiliations if we have them - from the perspective of the values that were instilled upon us or the ones we have adopted. We consider things from a framework that embraces our ethnic backgrounds and political and social convictions - and all of these things matter and color our beliefs and everything we espouse or take a stand on.

We see things as we are - but we can always broaden and enrichen our perspective as well...

In over 25 years of teaching theology, and at times controversial topics such as social and bioethical issues - I always encouraged my students to exercise critical thinking within the context of the Church's teaching and various philosophical traditions and streams as well. It is important to be as informed as possible and to be able to see things from various perspectives - because ours is ultimately, only one...

We live in a world that is increasingly more diverse, where we seem to have lost all civility for discourse and interaction, and where compromising and working together is often considered a weakness - rather than a source of strength...

We must also consider the words of Einstein - who wrote that a problem can never be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it. Every great discovery or cultural change - or historical evolution was wrought because someone somewhere dared to think outside the box.

We do not see things as they are...

We see them as we are...

Who are we? I believe each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God - and therefore - each has unlimited and infinite potential. I am also an eternal optimist. I believe both sides working together can make things work. But, we have to want to do this. We have to be willing to put down our arms - stop the name calling and the pointing of fingers. Let's stop destroying each other and pool our resources to make the world a better place...

I do not think that I am naive...

Each one of us is like the facet of a diamond. If we all came together and offered our unique gifts, talents and strengths - we could make this world a better place. We could change the world - as I often tell my yoga students - one person - and one corner of the world at a time...

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