Kindness, tolerance and acceptance are kind of like the Three Musketeers of spiritual protection. Don’t ask me which one’s Porthos, Athos or Aramis, but suffice it to say, you’re probably D’Artagnan in that mix (as you’d like to join them). There isn’t an assault by any evil Robespierre that these three can’t out-manoeuvre and overcome. There’s no army of worries or fears that together (with you joining in), they can’t defeat.
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.“—The Dalai Lama
Kindness is probably the most readily accessible and the easiest to summon up, since we all know we’re capable of it spontaneously. As an action, it’s the most actively proactive—because we can always simply use it all the time. When we’re as kind as we can possibly be to everyone we meet, without being at all patronizing, we energize our lives and the lives we touch with a positivity that’s absolutely transformative. Kindness flows into people and situations like a calming, lubricating emollient, yet just below that smooth surface it packs a real punch—the underlying positive power to support a soul or a situation with unshakeable solidity. Just ask the Mahatma, as kindness is the proactive expansion of the Hindu concept of ahimsa (absolute nonviolence) that he based his revolution of human consciousness on.
Try it, apply it, give it a test drive for at least a couple of days, and watch the way it changes your life, dramatically improving it so much that you never would have believed it could be so easy… and fun. You’ll discover that there’s a secret world, a conspiracy of kindly like-mindedness constantly at work in the world, right under your nose.
Tolerance is identification. The destruction of separateness. Tolerance is compassion.
If you just give it a little thought, you can easily see how most of our difficulties, personally and culturally, are self-created, coming about as the result of feeling that we’re separate and somehow special or different from everyone else, when naturally nothing could be further from the truth.
To paraphrase what I believe is the single wisest thing Ronald Reagan ever said: “If the Earth were under attack by aliens from another planet, how long do you think it would take us to get over all our differences?”
That’s easy to answer, don’t you agree? Every uncomfortable difference would disappear almost immediately, as we would unite to protect our beautiful home. When we look at the Earth and all its inhabitants in that context, we see the foolishness in considering ourselves different from one another at all. Everyone is literally in (or on) the same blue boat, going about the exact same business of being, with the same thoughts, fears and joys determined by our slightly different sensory identifications and experiences.
Our planet is under attack by an inhuman invader called fear, the sick army of the collective ego that takes the form of elitism, exploitation, greed, and prejudice. Humans doing, not humans being.
“Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”—Robert G. Ingersoll
Acceptance is the toughest to come by, often seeming to make the least sense in light of the basic injustices of life; and that’s true, some things just aren’t fair, or right, but nonetheless, they still simply are. So acceptance requires a sort of vigilance, of continuously turning it over. Simply put, it’s open-heartedness, just allowing life to be as it is, as it always will be, and looking hard in it for what’s love, and what isn’t. In that sense, there’s never anything attacking us personally, just life on life’s terms, and an ongoing challenge to find the love flowing around and through us, lying just beneath that noisy surface artifice of willful human ego. Acceptance is a kind of surrender, as a strategy. Joining the energy and power of the underlying love.
Kindness and tolerance are evidence of this underlying power and keys to personally harnessing it. And acceptance, well, simply put, there just is no problem in life that can’t be resolved by acceptance. With all that in mind, the unacceptable becomes obvious.
En guard, mon frere!