I smile when people say there are two things that one should never discuss in public, politics and religion. It is not the subject matter that is the issue, it is the inability of people to talk about these things with an open mind.
It is the very reason that I examined those two subjects the most.
Why do we guard our beliefs with such fierce loyalty? If we believe them to be correct than surely they can stand up to any discussion? Surely they are worth sharing with others so that they too can find the “light.” The truth is we are afraid they won’t stand up. We are afraid we might be proven wrong and we are afraid of that because we are not as sure as we think we are.
We treat our beliefs sometimes like family heirlooms, handed down to us, that must be treasured and honoured and carried with us through life to one day be handed on to our children. Our beliefs and ideas are meant to serve us, to support us, to help us through life. They should empower us and enable us, not limit us. We should us them as tools, we should be always willing to care for those beliefs and ideas by making sure they still work and recognizing that sometimes tools need to be upgraded or exchanged for a better tool.
The problem is that we intertwine our beliefs and ideas so closely with our sense of self that to let go of them can feel like death. It becomes a personal attack on our own value to let them go or take on new or different ones. And yet we use what is available, we use what we need, we work with what we have. As situations change, we become aware of more information and if we are open to that, if we can adapt and grow, we begin to see that the only thing that limits us is ourselves. We cling so tightly to what we know, to what is familiar and comfortable, we miss out on new. We miss out on better. We miss out on more.
People want to embrace life and to partake of it fully but they are unable to listen to one another, to hear new ideas. Often times the very answer they are seeking comes from another person who is trying to talk to them, but they will not listen because what they are saying is not what they want to hear. People want to stay in their easy chair and feel fulfilled. They don’t want to have to get up and go out into the world to experience it. People want to lose weight by taking a pill. They don’t want to exercise or eat differently or deal with their health and emotional issues. We want to insist that everyone become a Christian or a Muslim or whatever we are, saying it is the answer when it not answering our own life and there are many in our ranks who are part of the problems we ourselves want to escape.
Letting go is not about being right or wrong. It is about being open. It is about learning and experiencing life in such a way that you recognize things come as you are ready for them. You cannot give a child in first-grade quantum physics … first, he must learn to read, do math, and you must build to where he is ready to understand. Life is like that. You could not go into each grade in school clinging only to what you learned the year before … you have to be open.
Sometimes you will be the teacher, but most often you will be the student of life. Those who think they have all the answers are seldom the people anyone listens to because those with the most ability to teach others are those who are and will always be … students of life.