December 2016 | Creating Change Without Opposition


With the series of recent events our country and people have faced, including politics, riots and a general division among the people, I've been asking myself a very fundamental question.

How do we create change without opposition? Another way to ask this question on a more personal level is: how do we create an environment with others where we can disagree and still respect each other?

In some ways, conflict is needed in order to make progress in many situations. However, perhaps there are ways to ease that process. And I think that process starts with us as individuals and trickles out into our global community. My beloved teacher, Master Ou Wen Wei, often talks about creating a warm and friendly environment for others. This allows people to feel comfortable and safe and therefore more likely to have an open mind and accept a particular view point, responding in a positive way. Deep down we all want to feel loved and cared for and we want to feel that our lives and opinionshave value. Without that value, life can sometimes lose meaning and purpose. So, in a sense, by offering our love and warmth, we help others create meaning and bring forth their kind and loving nature. In turn, it also gives us value and brings out our
own loving selves. I believe that some part of every person has a desire to do good and be good and change the world for the better, even if their approach is not one we agree with. For some, their good intentions are much more obvious. In others, it's sometimes harder to see on the surface but I believe it's still there.

So my next question is, in a given moment why do I need others to agree with me? Why do I have to be right? How do I justify arguing with someone? And is it worth losing the love and harmony between us? I am talking about the world at large and how interactions and decisions occur, but it starts in our microcosms in our homes and communities: dinner conversations with family members, how we speak with or treat a stranger on the street, a difference in how we do a simple household task, our reaction to a coworker's strong opinion or negativity.

What if I could genuinely disagree with someone and be ok with it, maybe even content with it? What if I could maintain a friendly and optimistic environment while offering an alternative approach or idea? In addition, what if I could add something positive to the conversation and keep the love and happiness alive? Imagine how peaceful life could be!! Perhaps these are the gifts we should be giving each other this holiday season, the gifts of our own inner cultivation. I can't think of anything more rewarding and more likely to create lasting happiness.

May the New Year increase our longing for benevolence in the world and may our actions truly follow!

Happy New Year Everyone!

With Peace,