Quick Look


How many people must we see every day, twenty? (If you include media, thousands?)

Since most of them have two eyes and two legs, I secretly hope they are, somehow, mostly like me and that I’m mostly like them. (I know how crazy this is, but I catch myself feeling something like it anyway.)

When I’m proven wrong (just about always), it’s usually — I don’t know why — unsettling.

A Tale

Once I had a neighbor who owned not one, but two Great White Pyrenees. Each must have weighed over 100 pounds, and both could be a little unruly. Out for their daily walk, a passing car (or a passing squirrel) could put Larry in real jeopardy: the dogs could almost dislocate his shoulders.

For a while, I judged Larry as wacky; I couldn’t imagine myself enduring his situation. What was wrong with him for God’s sake? Why couldn’t he see the folly of his ways as clearly as I could?

But one good day, I (for some reason) accepted him the way he was. On that day I smiled when I saw him struggling with the big dogs, not with scorn but with simple delight in the different-ness of his life; I didn’t judge him or his dogs but appreciated the diversity of them all. I didn’t think that my way (no dogs, or just a little one) was the more sensible way, the better way, the best way, or the only way. He was he, and I was I, and that was all.

It felt kind and peaceful; it seemed a saner way to see.

The Tale Wagged

How we choose our pets isn’t very charged. But differences in how people parent their children, choose sexual partners, worship God ‑ these behaviors get closer and closer to My Rules, to areas where I expect uniformities. There ought to be one way, and any sensible person ought to see that the best way, clearly, is my way!

Releasing such expectations for uniformity is hard; it feels like you’re making a hole through which your soul may leak out.

It doesn’t.

Yeah, but how do we put it into practice?

Notice a moment when you’re agitated that someone else is acting . . . different. (You won’t have to look far.)  Often, you may notice an accompanying thought that goes something like, “That’s crazy,” or “They should . . . .” Or, you may think something like, “I should . . . .”

You could also be alert for the inverse: when you worry that you ought to be like — or different from — someone else.

You’re comparing. Don’t shame yourself: just notice the thought, like a pencil on the kitchen counter.

Now, consider the possibility that you might thoroughly welcome Two different actions, Two different people. Notice how that feels.

What Other Folks Have Said About Diversity


About RayMunn

Husband, father, Zen guy, web designer, film-maker.
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