Path of Respect
“There is no respect for others without humility in oneself.”
Henri Frederic Amiel
This morning, I read about the practice of respect as one path to enlightenment. It requires careful monitoring of ones words and actions, attempting to remove negativity from both. The book I read indicates that on any given day, fifty to ninety percent of our human-to-human communication involves talking about other people. We don't always speak negatively about others, but, oh my goodness, do we love gossip!
Of all the paths to enlightenment, this would be hardest for me, and probably for most folks. We have an entire culture devoted to mud raking and smut collection. The Ashley Madison extra-marital-affair revelation is just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Think of all the journalists whose jobs depend on dredging up dirt on celebrities and politicians. And, the so-called “reality show,” in which every character is vigilant for the least sign of weakness or moral turpitude in others which might be exploited for their own benefit. We relish books, movies and theater productions about salacious goings-on among our fellow human beings. We call it “entertainment.” Lives are demolished, careers ruined, families scattered, leaving a path of destruction a mile wide.
I don't have a solution for this one. The truth is we bond around disrespect for others who are different from us, individually and collectively. We can see where it takes us, but we can't seem to stop. One good thing is this: a path is a path—it's meant to be walked one step at a time. The first step, as always, is consciousness. How much of my conversational time do I spend disrespecting other people? Monitoring this for a couple of days is, in itself, enlightening. Next question: What would I talk about if I did not talk about other people? Is gossip a crutch for empty communication skills?
Give it a test-run today. Try to avoid negativity in word and deed. Soul work is hard.
In the Spirit,