What do you see when sitting on a hilltop? That’s one of my favorite scenes during the deep relaxation practice of The Wholeness of Your Nature – The Little Yoga Nidra. Usually I’m relaxing in a summer meadow, looking out and across at another hilltop where horses in all sizes and colors — brown, black, white, and grey — lazily graze, nuzzle, and drink from a craggy stream burbling through acres of lush pastures. But, there is more to this pleasant landscape than seeing only one direction…
“There’s always another story. There’s more than meets the eye.”
― W.H. Auden
In fact, there are numerous other sides. If I shift my viewpoint, for instance, an overgrown forest of Eastern White Pines towers over me. Do I feel sheltered or intimidated? Where I choose to place my view is the perspective I will have. Is it down into the valley? Up toward the summit? Across, behind or sideways? Uniting all of these views completes the whole 360 degree picture. It’s life in its entirety.
That’s one reason why I do not support the totalitarian coercing of others to think, speak and act according to one myopic view. Accusing, humiliating, shouting down, destroying public property and other forms of intolerance (politically correct behavior?) are as biased as the ones condemned. Allowing only one view distorts reality. It is not inclusive wholeness as life complete.
Can you imagine if we no longer had daylight, but only night? Only winter, no summer reprieve? How about dry deserts and no oceans, or only dogs for pets — no cats, or vice versa? Sounds ridiculous I know. So does forcibly controlling the thoughts, opinions and actions of others. So does insisting someone apologize for the behaviors of their spouse or deceased ancestors.
“The key to successful relationships lies solely in our ability to take the perspective of another. Perspective taking is that all important skill of being able to look at things from a point of view other than our own. Perspective taking brings in the mindfulness of compassion and empathy to our relationships…When these two qualities are present in our interactions mutual respect, success and movement forward is guaranteed.”– –Sherrie Campbell, Psychologist, Entrepreneur, May 12, 2016
Group think dishonors the very essence of life itself. If the Thought Police wear badges under the guise of inclusion why do they exclude or condemn everyone else’s thoughts who don’t match their own? Once the dust settles and the noise quiets to hear reasonable, solution based dialogue, perhaps more people will begin thinking for themselves and asking uncomfortable questions such as these.
Looking back, I was raised in an era where manners, including kindness and respect, painted a mural of civility. Today, our landscape is in a shambles without it, and overbearing political correctness is not fostering goodwill. Only when humanity is willing to shift its focus from force to empathy and tolerance will the perspective be widened and truly inclusive of everyone — as one complete picture of humanity, all races, ages, genders, religions, nationalities, thoughts, opinions, actions… Ask yourself, “Can you do this — completely, for all individuals?” Only then do I see a monumental positive shift in the picture ahead.
Note: I do not condone discrimination, racism, supremacy, violence, hatred, destruction — or any of these aversions in reverse. To continue this abhorrent rhetoric and behavior only serves to cement humanity in muck. We can and must do better.