1) Serenity first and foremost. There is nothing and no one on this earth worth sacrificing my own peace of mind. Getting myself in a mental muddle won’t help anyone or make the world any better. I will engage in any practice necessary to preserve my serenity, no matter how unusual or subversive, including the following:
2) Brazenness. I simply will not accept shame from anyone, including myself. Shame is a tactic, not a truth. I’m also going to refuse any guilt that I myself haven’t earned.
3) Keeping an open mind. As unlikely as it may seem, there may be a different point of view even from my most dug- in perceptions and beliefs.
As Voltaire said, I’m going to enjoy my ability to make up my own mind and let others enjoy the dignity of making up theirs. How could I ever hope to earn someone’s respect, if I don’t try to respect his or her thinking and beliefs?
Practicing # 3 will inevitably lead down the slippery slope ending in # 4.
4) I might have to utter the dreaded phrase, ” you might be right.”
5) I’m going to re- learn the now seemingly extinct practices of consensus and compromise, and ask myself, “how important is it?” before endeavoring to assist anyone to get back on the side of the Angels. Am I really sure I’m on the right side? A difference of opinion isn’t a personal attack. The more emotional I am about something, the more likely I am to have distorted perceptions, which may lead me away from the solution or resolution I seek.
6) In law school we learned the rule of reasonableness: what would a reasonable man or woman do in the same situation? It’s kind of bizarre that with all the lawyers roaming the earth, I never hear this word. I’m going to attempt to resuscitate this all but extinct practice, and use it as the criterion in my interactions, instead of my feelings and perceptions.
Who knows what will happen? I’ll keep you posted.
“In your small way, you can shake the world.”