This article is a continuation of the first part which can be found here: Part 1
There is no doubt that people will have differing viewpoints on almost any topic under the sun. Otherwise it would be kind of boring if everyone thought and acted the same way. So how can we achieve harmony while disagreeing with someone else.
The first major hurdle of attaining true worldwide harmony on this planet is to let go of our anger. And again I'll add the comment that this is not an article about anger management, but merely stating the fact that it is the first step that must be overcome. Before we "agree to disagree", before we learn acceptance, when conflict arises we must FIRST recognize why we become angry and then take steps to let that anger pass.
Okay maybe there IS a little anger management in this article. A great visual trick I taught myself while driving and someone does something that makes me angry, like cutting me off or going too slow in front of me or tailgating behind me. My first reaction is to become very tense and angry. I can almost feel the road rage building inside of me. So here is the visual trick that allows me to just let go of that anger. Visualize the piping under your sink. Imagine there is a big disgusting black hairball stuck in there clogging the drain and not allowing the water to flow. The hairball is your anger and the flowing water is your normal functioning mind/body. While the hairball/anger is stuck inside the pipe/in your head, you cannot function properly...the water doesn't flow. Now picture just letting that nasty black hairball go, it gets softer, smaller until it gets unstuck, goes down the drain, allowing the flow of water to continue. Take a few deep breathes and imagine the water flowing, your breathing normally again, your heart rate slows, and you just let it go.
So what's actually happening here? The human body's "fight or flight" mode kicks in when you feel attacked or angered. The idea that someone disagrees with you or makes you angry gets stuck in your head, just like the drain clog, and you can't (or don't want to) let it go. This is just the body responding, the brain getting stuck in a loop, and sending all sorts of signals and chemicals to your body that you don't want or need. LET. IT. GO! Life is too short and when you allow someone to anger you, you are giving away your power to them. It's not worth it. It's also amazing how much better your body feels after you let the anger unclog and flow out of you. You body is no longer tense, your mind is clear and you function much more efficiently.
Let's get back on track and see how all this fits in with trying to live harmoniously with someone you disagree with. As I said, the first step (which CANNOT be bypassed) is to let the anger pass! If you are in a situation where the other person is purposely trying to make you angry than just walk away. Because they obviously do not want to actually discuss their differences with you, they just want to prove you wrong! That is a dead end for both parties, unless your only goal is to raise your blood pressure.
Now we slide right into the second step of harmonious disagreement: The often used and mostly misunderstood "agree to disagree".
What would you say the two biggest topics of discussion cause the most disagreement (besides whose sports team is better)? It would probably have to be Politics and Religion. Let's take religion first. Here's another personal example: I was raised Jewish, my parents were prejudice and as was typical of their generation they were very clannish. They often threatened to disown me if I did not marry a Jewish woman. And in our house the name Jesus Christ was not to be spoken, it was sort of an unwritten rule. Nor were we allowed to participate in anything remotely connected to Christmas festivities. We had our little electric Menorah in the window and that was the extent of our "Festival of Lights". (Which I always found ironic, because if Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, how come the Christians got to put up all the cool colored lights?!?!! But I digress again)
So guess what happens, I marry a shikzah (Yiddish for a non-Jewish woman), not only is she Christian, but she was a minister's daughter for the Church of Christ. We were both taught to value our own religions and DEVALUE other religions, and you would think that would make for quite a volatile and disharmonious relationship. Sure we had our debates and discussions over the validity of Christ being the Messiah, the value and usefulness of being Kosher and lots of head scratching on my part as to the concept of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (I still don't know if I get that one). But ours is a classic example of being harmonious in our different belief systems. We never belittled or devalued the other's religious beliefs (beyond playful jabbing) and we actually learned and have come to respect a little bit of each other's belief system. For me, I've come a long way from feeling guilty about even saying the name Jesus aloud, to coming to respect Christ's teachings. I still don't believe that my soul will be damned to Hell if I don't accept Jesus as my savior (as my mother-in-law often reminds me) but I respect those people that hold that belief.
Which also brings up another important point about accepting and being harmonious with other people's religious beliefs. Suppose my wife and I were to have a serious argument about Evolution vs. Creationism (which we do often debate) and I actually went as far as to keep at her day and night, constantly presenting her with "proof" and theories and concepts on Evolution. And what if she actually started believing in what I told her and began to believe that Creationism was false. Most people would say Yea! I've made her see the cool hard light of science and logic! I won the argument! But what does it also do? It strips her of a lifetime's worth of beliefs that she has used to support herself emotionally and spiritually. I would have essentially raped her of her own spirituality!
So what? some might say, people need to know the truth. No, some people seek truth but people NEED to be happy and thrive. And the fact is nobody really knows the truth about the ultimate nature of the Universe. One person's truth is another person's theory or even fantasy. And yes there is an Ultimate Truth out there and maybe someday we will all come together as humans and come to discover this truth together as a species. But for now the bottom line is that there ARE many belief systems out there, and many of them contradict each other. We could spend our entire lives bickering and arguing whose idea of "God" or the concept of no god is closest to the Ultimate Truth, what a waste of time and energy for humans with such a limited life span. Spirituality is a personal choice and a journey that has to be taken either alone or with like minded people. You cannot live harmoniously while pushing your belief system on others.
My wife and I have taken our mutual beliefs in spirituality and embraced those similar aspects of our individual belief systems. The parts we don't agree on, we just set aside and have traveled part of that journey separately but respectfully and harmoniously. You cannot be closed-minded, hurtful and angry towards people who have opposing beliefs. You cannot act Holier-Than-Thou and expect to have others respect your point of view.
As I said in the first part of this article, the true irony of all the different religious beliefs and laws is if you take them all and boil them down, distilled to the barest common idea, message or philosophy, it is indeed: Live Harmoniously On Planet Earth.
The same can be said for political views. The bottom line is that everyone just wants to be happy, be allowed to pursuit their own interests, live in a safe environment, and to be healthy and relatively prosperous (some people's concept of prosperous can differ greatly with others) It's just the matter of HOW we go about doing this. How do we organize, set laws, enforce them and have everyone able to do what they want to do? Well, again we first need to eliminate anger, hostility, selfishness, greed and corruption. That's not too difficult now is it?
But now we are getting into areas such as abortion laws, immigration, taxes, campaign financing that deserve much more thought than I want to put into this article. I'd like to let what we've already discussed percolate for awhile. So we'll save the rest for the next part....
Until then Live H.O.P.E (Harmoniously On Planet Earth)