It is an interesting fact that the when we take a stake in an argument we often shut down open-minded thinking. Our minds seem to have a need to separate us into a “for” or “against” stance, which only serves to divide us against one another and keep the truth from being understood.
“If you want truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the mind’s worst disease.”
– Sent-ts’an, Inspirational Quotes from Today Is That Day
My ability to remain calm often dictates my ability to remain reasonable. More importantly, my ability to keep my perspective accurate and my assessment honest keeps me fair and thoughtful, but I do this best when I don’t take sides on every occasion.
The outcome of such “for” or “against” thinking is that it keeps us from insight, understanding and truth. We see this divided thinking in religion with all the many different religions pitted against one another. We see it within a particular religion with its many different sects and denominations. We see it within our country through its divided political parties. And we see it within marriages when they end.
I have been afforded enough time in my life to have once, been for religion, and now skeptical of religion, for one political party and now another, to have been married then divorced. I’m moving toward another path, one where I don’t have to be “for” or “against”. I try to just be assertive and honest. I share my feelings and thoughts with the hope that the other person will work with me toward a solution and not against me. Of course I don’t believe I will change them. I simply hope that my authenticity will allow me to remain true to my intent.
I realized long ago that we can’t change people, we can change only ourselves. I don’t strive to be right, I strive to understand. I believe this approach helps me remain reasonable even when the other person isn’t. Personal change depends on our ability to take responsibility for our lives and make an honest and accurate assessment of life each and every day, especially when a major event shatters our dreams. Simply taking a stance against, or for something with the undesired result of blinding ourselves to truth both personal and real need not be the outcome. We need not be divided and fighting if we seek to understand rather than take sides.