Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Silence And Tolerance

In addition to the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, there were two other themes in last week’s Festival of Faiths. One was silence and the other was tolerance. You cannot have a serious spiritual life without an element of silence in your life. The world and our own minds are noisy places. Silence is not just the absence of sound. In our world of over-stimulation, noise also takes the form of images, whether they be from television, billboards, or our smart phones. All together the average person is bombarded with noise in the form of sound, images, and data. It is disorienting, at times stressful, and almost always dissipating. I read once that scientists are having a very difficult time finding any place on the face of the earth that is free of human “noise”. It is important to find some physical quiet in our lives but even more important to quiet our minds. As far as tolerance, the Dalai Lama made a strong point in his talk about everyone following their own faith and beliefs while being tolerant of other’s beliefs. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and other traditions should and can learn from one another. I see religions in the image of a wheel. The outer edges of the wheel represent all our different beliefs. It is where we are furthest apart from one another and where the most disagreements occur. The hub of the week is the deeper, contemplative center that is found in all major religions. It is where we are closest to one another. Most serious spiritual people strive to live in the center. It is where I try to live and it’s where I experience union with other spiritual seekers. I have my own beliefs but I also learn from all traditions and points of view. Practice compassion, seek silence, quiet your mind, and be tolerant of all.

1 comment:

Elaine said...

I love the image of a wheel, people coming together through their shared beliefs. Let us all strive to live in the "center", which is where we also meet our Creator, Spirit, Allah, Abba.