“The slogan “Don’t misinterpret” means don’t impose the wrong notion of what harmony is, what compassion is, what patience is, what generosity is. Don’t misinterpret what these things really are. There is compassion and there is idiot compassion; there is patience and there is idiot patience; there is generosity and there is idiot generosity. For example, trying to smooth everything out to avoid confrontation, to not rock the boat, is not what is meant by compassion or patience. That’s what is meant by control. Then you are not trying to step into unknown territory, to find yourself naked with less protection and therefore more in contact with reality. Instead, you use the idiot forms of compassion and so forth just to get ground.
When you open the door and invite in all sentient beings as your guests, you have to drop your agenda. Many different people come in. Just when you think you have a little scheme that is going to work, it doesn’t work. It may be very beneficial to one person, but when you try it on the next person, he looks at you as if you’re crazy, and when you try it on somebody else, she gets insulted. Coming up with a formula won’t work. You don’t know what’s going to help, but all the same you need to speak and act with clarity and decisiveness. Clarity and decisiveness come from the willingness to slow down, to listen to look at what’s happening. They come from opening your heart and not running away. Then your actions and speech accord with what needs to be done – for you and for the other person.” Pema Chödrön