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Differences of Opinion...

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Differences of opinion....

There have always been, and always will be, actions which appear to some as good, while the same actions appear to others as evil. That is the nature of humanity. We must accept that simple fact or be forever condemned to battle.

The mystic Joseph Campbell once said:

 "everything that you do is evil for somebody". 

In every country, in every religion, we find those who view an action as evil, while others find that same action to be good.  Within every country and within every religion there is great diversity of opinion. We all have different viewpoints. 

Throughout history we have had war, conflict and violence in the name of religion and in the name of nationalism, each side ready to fight to the death for their viewpoint. Such is the nature of mankind.

We are all different. It is that simple...each and every one of us is different. We have always been different, we will always be different. We must learn to accept our differences with patience, tolerance, understanding and love or else we will be in strife forever.

The first step in finding any peace, on either an individual or social basis, is the loving acceptance of "what is". Our diversity must be accepted, not denied or attacked. There can never be peace without acceptance of "what is". All war, all battle, all human conflict is our resistance to the way things actually are. We continually fight against "what is", and the battle continually fails.

In a prayer called Khatum, from Inayat Khan, there is a line that says :

"Raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide men..."

This prayer does not suggest that there will be a world without divisions and differences, but rather that we must each learn to rise above such divisions and distinctions... that is, to see beyond our diversity, to see the Divine light in every being, in every situation.

The diversity of mankind will never be conquered by national governments or by religious leaders. Our diversity is the very reason that we exist. We exist to be individuals, we exist to be different. We must accept this simple fact if we want to find the heart of peace. We must simply accept "what is".

Yet within the mosaic all of this diversity, with all of our individual opinions, and with all of our individual needs, there is a common center that we all share, regardless of nationality, or race or religion... and that is the center of love.

For those who see with the eyes of love, there is only the loving, nothing else really matters. Let us rise above all differences and distinctions on the wings of tolerance, understanding, patience and love. Nothing else will ever bring peace.

Mankind has tried to conquer our diversity with war, violence, hatred and persecution for thousands of years and yet we never seem to learn the lesson... all of that war, violence, hatred and persecution has been a complete failure. In fact, there is no amount of war, violence, hatred and persecution that will ever end our diversity. Diversity is only conquered with tolerance, understanding, patience and love

When people don't like someone else's behavior, the general reaction is to try to get the other person to change. But that is not the challenge which Life holds for us. The challenge is not about changing the world outside of us, the challenge is about changing the world within us. To see a new world, we must see with new eyes.

Instead of fighting our diversity, we must accept our differences and deal with one another in tolerance, understanding, patience and love. We must see with new eyes. Nothing else will ever succeed.



O Thou, Who art the Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty, The Lord of Heaven and Earth, 
Open our hearts, that we may hear Thy Voice, which constantly cometh from within; 
Disclose to us Thy Divine Light, which is hidden in our souls, That we may know and understand life better. 
Most Merciful and Compassionate God, give us Thy Great Goodness, 
Teach us Thy Loving Forgiveness, 
Raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide us, 
Send us the Peace of Thy Divine Spirit, And unite us all in Thy Perfect Being.

Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan -- A Prayer of the Gayatri


The Hebrew word , transliterated as shalom, is commonly translated as peace, but the roots of the word, which are also the roots of the Arabic word salaam, bring forth a much richer, deeper understanding of the very essence of peace.

The Hebrew noun shalom has all of these connotations, that fall, more or less, into the following three groups:

-  completeness, wholeness

-  safety, welfare, health, prosperity

-  quiet, tranquility, contentment, peace, friendship

Isn't that a magnificent potpourri of sentiments to wish for someone?

Ahhhh, what a challenge it is to reflect this Divine essence of shalom into the world in our daily lives... seeing shalom everywhere and being seen as shalom by everyone, reflecting the Divine attributes of completeness, wholeness, safety, welfare, health, prosperity, quiet, tranquility, contentment, peace and friendship to everyone.

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Last updated: 07/11/09

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