Our lives consist of experiences. Experiences are what we feel, see, smell, taste and touch. Our senses transform the external world into information, which our brains translate, structure and order. Information that does not have a context in our understanding is discarded. This forms the basis of our relationship with the world.
Now, here’s the difficult part to accept.
From our understanding; the body, the brain and our senses do not represent reality as it truly is! A complete picture of reality always eludes us because; the totality of information that reality continually presents us is dependent upon our ability to receive information through our limited senses. Since we know our senses are limited, our information is limited. Since our information is limited, our understanding of reality is limited. Therefore, we can never see or know reality because we are only aware of a small portion of it.
For instance, we only see a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (light). In reality, light exists in wavelengths beyond our ability to see. Other life forms on our planet are able to detect them but we do not have this ability. We are limited.
It is difficult for us to accept that any reality we discuss is always based upon incomplete information. No one can know it all. Therefore, the logic we apply to any situation always has an inherent degree of uncertainty. The degree of uncertainty varies from situation to situation and is dependent upon our ability to know all the details. Whosoever has the smallest degree of uncertainty is ultimately the winner of the argument but they are not necessarily right. One of our sayings explains this quite well, “There is her version, his version and the truth.”
Which lead us into the realm of human interaction and the desire to be right. As conversation is a constant in our lives, the power of words reaches deep. Relationships are made and broken with a single word, remark or sentence.
There exists many reasons why being right is so important to each of us. To be right is to win. To have an argument with another and have your version of reality adopted by another is a challenge most of us love to engage in. When another person accepts your version of reality this becomes a validation that feels wonderful. This feeling exists because we have associated a created image of self (or who we think we should be) with our version of reality. They have become one and the same. The goal then is to maintain a perimeter around your version of reality and your perception of self. You become dependent upon others to reinforce this self image or pounce upon those who do not see it your way.
Unfortunately, the price of this association is, if our version of reality is not accepted by others we feel rejected. The association tells us that this is not merely a difference of opinions but a deeply felt (and frightening) rejection of self. This is the basis of right and wrong. This is why we fight so hard. We say, “This is what happened and you must see it my way and agree that I am right!” We always feel better when we are right and we blame ourselves when we are wrong.
So, we have a large number of people walking around wanting and needing others to validate their point of view. Never acknowledging that there is no definitive right and wrong since each person’s version of reality is incomplete. Further, because being right is ultimately tied to our perception of self, we are all fighting to be heard but no one is listening! Is it any wonder we argue so much or can’t seem to work well with one another? We have taken survival of the fittest into the realm of argument and it’s dog eat dog!
Here is the choice we all face. Do we want to have peaceful relationships that help us to grow? Where everyone’s point of view is truly considered? Or do we keep fighting to be right?
If we accept the reality that reality always escapes every one of us then, we have a place where we can all stand with equal footing. Then, instead of focusing on right and wrong we can learn from another’s perspective. The point is each of us has something to share. Each of us has a unique point of view. When will we begin valuing this uniqueness?
Beyond right and wrong is the realm of Truth. If we can commit, agree and declare that conversations are to be used as explorations to discover the truth of a situation, even if that truth challenges our point of view of reality and our self image then, we can rise above right and wrong. Then we can be more at ease for we can trust that another is not trying to “get over on me”. Then we no longer become adversarial to each other and instead become brothers and companions. Then we can feel safe knowing that the goal is the highest expression of truth for everyone concerned.
The key to getting along with others is based upon a dedication to seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and knowing Truth. A person who commits to Truth considers all pieces of information as valid. How this information is used is up to you.
Next time you’re in an argument, take a moment to be honest with yourself. Is your real goal to win? Is your real goal to get them to see it your way? And maybe, if you’re really brave, you can look deeper and see how attached you are to winning at all costs even if it means hurting those you say you love.
Going beyond this attachment will enable you to listen and receive information from others without automatic rejection. For your sense of self will no longer be tied to the outcome of the conversation. This will provide you freedom to authentically consider what someone is saying and truly consider their point of view.
Isn’t this what you would like others to offer you?