I still have a hangup around exclusion and a narrow view among practitioners and teachers, especially when they seem to go out of their way to limit their view and options, and this creates a limited and limiting culture.
So what is it I don’t see here? What is it I am not getting? What am I missing? (I am sure a whole lot, but there are some specific nuggets here I am missing. Whenever there is a hangup, a belief, an emotional attachment, there is gold on the other side of that imagined boundary.)
What are my beliefs around this? What is it I complain about? What should they do differently? They shouldn’t exclude practices or views. They should be more inclusive. They shouldn’t limit their view of the world. They shouldn’t try to limit reality (God, life) and be so damn smug about it.
And some more: They try to limit God through taking their own limited views as true, but God (reality) cannot be limited in that way. They are small minded, and not only don’t recognize it, but are proud of it! They try to make everything confined and limited enough to fit within their own small and pitiful models.
I’ll go through a more formal inquiry later, but first, what do I find as the genuine gifts in their limited views?
Well, a limited view does focus attention and behavior, whether it is taken as true or not. Also, the drama of taking any view as true can, in some cases, give energy, even if it does have a compulsive quality.
Taking a view as true creates juice and drama, just like in a good movie, or a good story told in any medium. This particular story is told through the medium of human lives. I appreciate drama in movies. So why not also in human lives?
It does help me see my own hangups, beliefs and emotional attachments. Their views and beliefs rub up against mine and helps me see where I am stuck. What could be more valuable? They are a mirror for me, I can take what I see in them and find the same here now in my own life. And their views and lives provide friction so I notice and am invited to explore my own hangups and beliefs.
I can also appreciate the process I see over there as a mirror for myself. In all of our lives, there is a process of refining and changing the stories we use as guides for our lives in the world. It is part of any life, and also a part of our development and maturing as human beings.Sometimes, we take the stories as gospel truth, wrap our identity up around them, and have an impulse to defend them. We identify with their viewpoint and the roles that comes out of it. Other times, we hold them lightly and recognize them as just stories, temporary guides to help us orient and function in the world. It is a natural process, either way.
In terms of juiciness, when they hold onto their stories as true, it does create juiciness around the situation for me when I explore ways to hold the validity in their view and mine, and find more clarity around it for myself. Without that touch of drama, I may not have been that drawn to it.
So when they use a limited view and take it as true, there are many benefits.
It helps me recognize that just holding a limited view is fine (for me) as long as there is receptivity and curiosity there, a willingness to explore further and go beyond what is familiar. What gets to me is when these limited views (and all views are by their nature limited – and limiting) are held as the gospel truth, and especially when it is shared within a community, mutually reinforced, and a culture is created out of it. And even more so when there is smugness around it, when they take (idiotic) pride in the prison they create for themselves.
I also recognize that this doesn’t bother me so much in Christianity or other similar traditions, because I expect it there and am OK with it. But it does bother me when it happens in traditions where I tell myself “they should know better”, such as Buddhism (especially integrally informed Buddhism). And it happens as much there as in any other tradition.
So I get to sift out what about it gets to me, and then find the genuine gifts in what does.
Mainly, I recognize (more) the value of drama. There is a juiciness in it, whether it is in a movie or through the medium of our human lives.
Also, all our views are necessarily limited. Their views are no different in that way, even if I tell myself my views are more inclusive, they are still limited. All our stories are in the same boat.
They are a mirror for me. They exclude, and I exclude them in my own view. I exclude them from what I am able to sincerely and genuinely appreciate. I exclude them from what is OK for me. I exclude a part of reality, of God, of myself. Again, we are in the same boat.
And there is a juiciness in the drama of the friction between their views and my shoulds. It is rich, fertile ground for exploration. I get to notice and explore my own hangups, my own blind spots, and find a little more clarity.
I can explore all of this further and in more detail.
What views do I see as not or less limited? In what way are those limited as well?
What and how do I exclude parts of life and reality? What do I see as not OK? What am I (yet) unable to sincerely and genuinely appreciate?
What happens when I attach to a view that excludes? What happens when I find what is more honest for me?
They are a mirror for me. When I see their views as limited, it is a reminder that all of my views are equally limited, including the views I have on them. (No matter how sophisticated and inclusive they may seem, they are still limited.)
I find that any story is more juicy with drama, whether it is a book, movie or through the medium of our human lives. I can appreciate that drama, and the same drama brings juiciness to my own explorations of how to hold their and mine views in a coherent and honest way.
- exclusion and a narrow view
- still wrestling with in some situations, especially when practitioners/teachers go out of their way to limit their view/options etc. and a culture is created out of it
- explore for myself
- beliefs: they shouldn’t limit themselves, their practice and reality, they are too small-minded
- genuine gifts: helps focus attention and action, creates juice and drama, rubs up against my beliefs
- how helps me: helps me see my hangups and beliefs around it, helps me see where I am still stuck (and what is more valuable than that?) (it is a mirror for me, and also a friction for my beliefs)
– part of the process of exchanging one set of beliefs for another (human development)
– also, part of the process of softening identification with beliefs in general (awakening) – is a mirror for me + creates friction for my own beliefs