The autumn 2007 issue of The Blue Mountain Journal is now online.
Being with people who are different is not only unavoidable; it is necessary if we want to grow. Without the company of those who differ from us, we grow rigid and narrow-minded. Those who associate only with people their own age, for example, lose a great deal: the young have much to learn from the old, and older people from the young. Similarly, if you are a blue-collar worker, it is good to know an intellectual
or two; it will cure you of any awe you might have of higher education. Even the difference between an egghead and a hardhat is only one percent. Their feelings, their responses to life’s perennial problems, are very much the same.
Most of us can treat others with espect under certain circumstances – at the right time, with the right people, n a certain place. When those circumstances are absent, we usually move away. We avoid someone, change jobs, lave home, move to southern California. Yet when we respond according to ow the other person behaves, changing whenever she changes, and she is behaving in this same way, how can we expect anything but insecurity on both sides? There is nothing solid to build on. Instead, we can learn to respond always to the Self within – focusing not on the other person’s ups and downs, likes and dislikes, but always on what is changeless in each of us. Then others grow to trust us. They know they can count on us – and that makes us more secure too. We can try to remember this always: the same Self that makes us worthy of respect and love is present equally in everyone around us. When we base our relationships on this unity, showing unwavering respect and unconditional love to all, we give them – and ourselves – a sure basis on which to stand. Everyone responds to this. It is one of the surest ways I know of to take our latent divinity a reality in daily life.