We all live in a paradigm. When something challenges our paradigm, it offers us an opportunity, to learn a new paradigm or be more resolute in our current one. Only the liberal-minded have the courage to take a close look.
Someone questions where I stand, I try to be liberal about it. I try and open up my mind and rethink, re‑look at the decision that I made, the value behind that decision, do I have this right.
Have you ever made a decision in your life where down the road you realized that you made a big mistake? You should not have decided to do this, get involved in this, participate, whatever it may be. Not only that, you realize how much is at stake with the decision that you made and now you have one of two options. Either continue down the road even though that, of course, will have negative ramifications, it’s sort of like a scaffolding that’s trying to hold up a structure which really can’t stand, or to pull out and suffer the consequences that are in fact at stake. For example, someone invests in a project where you spent a lot of time and energy and commitment which took you away from many other things. And then six months down the road you realize this project really isn’t working out. Well, you can hold on to your self‑esteem and your ego and say, oh, no, I’m not going to back down, how is that going to look, and you just plow through with this project which really is not what it was intended to be or you just stop and say, you know what, I made a mistake and I’m pulling out.
You invest in a business and you invest a lot of money, $25,000, $50,000. Your $50,000 deep into this business and you realize you are going to be a slave to this business and you’re never going to have any freedom or money from it. What do you do? Do you just keep on pushing through because how is it going to look if you pull out after so many people told you not to do the business, or do you say, I’m out?
Imagine ‑‑ and many people have gone through this example ‑‑ you know, you get engaged to someone and you’re a month out from the wedding and you just realize this was a big mistake. And somehow you are absolutely sure that it was a big mistake. What do you do? Do you just step into the marriage, as many people do because they’re terrified to just end it, or do you end it with all of the humiliating and the questioning and everything that comes, and loss of money that was invested, everything that comes with breaking an engagement or even a marriage, where you’re married with kids. These are major dilemmas that we all have in life; some of us have them in the bigger circumstances, some of us in smaller circumstances. You see, we have a choice and the choice is whether we’re going to sanctify, make holy the decision that we made and by doing so still our conscious, quiet our conscious and just say, let’s just keep with the program or we’re going to open ourselves up to reality and we are going to acknowledge that the decision I made was not a good decision. Whether it was or wasn’t your fault, whether you should or should not have known better is not relevant. Right now I am ready to acknowledge it was not a good decision and I am going to follow my conscience which tells me that I need to pull out of this.
Or, sometimes we make a compromise in life where we decide that we’re going to do certain things with our life or participate in certain things and, yet, in our conscience we know we really shouldn’t do this. And then somehow, someday something comes up which makes us aware in a very bold way of the fact that we made a decision which is challenging our value system. And at that juncture we have a choice, do we sanctify our compromise, hold on to it dearly because, no, we don’t make mistakes, or do we ‑‑ and, by the way, by sanctifying our compromise we still our conscience, which is very dangerous, because then sometimes there is no way back because our conscience has been shut down. So there’s no voice of authenticity to wake us up to reality. Or, do we not sanctify our compromise but acknowledge, you know something, I made a compromise I should not have made and I’m going to pull out of this and change the way that I behave in regard to this value.
You see, this is the context in which I like to say that I am trying to be a true liberal. What I mean by that is that I don’t always know. In fact, I usually don’t know absolutely. And, therefore, when someone questions where I stand, I try to be liberal about it. I try and open up my mind and rethink, re‑look at the decision that I made, the value behind that decision, do I have this right. And that is what being a true liberal is.
Sometimes someone will tell me something which sounds absolutely ridiculous. They’ll share a perspective which is just completely ridiculous from my perspective. You know that the more ridiculous their perspective is, the more it will make me revisit my perspective. Because if that other person is someone I know who is a thinking person and what they’re sharing sounds ridiculous, that makes me say there may be a truth over here that I’m just in denial with, I just don’t want to hear it, I don’t want it to affect my life, I don’t want it to change or impact the compromises that I’ve made.
You know, if it’s something that’s not so ridiculous, it actually does not wake me up as much because it’s not so much of a statement. But if someone who is a thinking person has such an extreme view, at least from my perspective it seems to be extreme, I have to ask, I have to investigate why.
You see, we all live in a paradigm. Every single one of us. Of course that paradigm, hopefully, as we go through life changes because of our different experiences. But we don’t want to wait for the circumstances to change our paradigm, to force us to question our paradigm. We can actually be mature and challenge our own paradigm. We’re taught to negate certain ideas, to be suspect of certain ideas or certain perspectives, to be wary of certain things and certain people. And then we discover that this person who we were always taught to be wary of because they’re coming from some background or upbringing or whatever it may be, we suddenly see a beauty in them. And that should encourage us to say, hey, maybe there is more here and maybe I need to broaden my paradigm. And after we broaden it, of course you know we only broaden it again.
We need to be liberal minded. We need to remain open to testing the paradigms that we have. You see, when people subscribe to an agenda, and they stand by that agenda, and they say, this is holy, I am sanctifying this agenda, that is not liberal. That is close minded. Liberal is to always be willing to question and seek.
Now, yes, there are certain things that we are absolutely sure about, which will never require any questioning and any seeking. But there are many other things which are based on a lot of judgments that we make. I don’t mean judgments in a negative way, I mean, you know, assessments that we make. And we need to be willing to revisit that and we need to be willing to revisit that even if it will mean that it’s going to challenge the way that I’m living now. Why? Because even if I’m not ready to change the way I’m living, at least I’m in touch with reality. And you know what I can tell myself, I am not living up to what I have learned just now to be true, and that’s fine, I will catch up to that hopefully with time. Because let me tell you something, there is no person in the world that you know of that is aligned in their light, in their living, their practical living with the truth. There are only people who are more aligned and less aligned. And all we should want from life is to align ourselves more with time. So it’s no major confession to confess that I’m not aligned with what I know to be true. We just need to be willing to keep the door open for the day when we will align ourselves more with the truths that we know.
So the next time you hear a perspective or a viewpoint that challenges you, don’t run away, investigate it. Learn more about it. Discover a deeper truth than you know today. And when the time is right, you’ll align yourself more with it.