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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

A Game Changer: Respecting All

Oct 02, 2018 01:04AM ● By Vajracharya ZyiChan, Charlotte M. Steen

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If you haven’t yet tried the 30-day challenge of only speaking positively for 30 days, here are the details: You are challenged to only speak (and think, in the advanced version) positively 24 hours a day for 30 days in a row—no snide comments, no yucky yammering—only pure positivity. If you mess up, you have to start your 30-day count all over again.

For those of you who have tried this, think of how long it took you to get to 30 days in a row. Did it take 35, 60, 90 days or even a year? The fact that you didn’t give up is impressive. If you haven’t yet tried the experiment, I urge you to test for yourself your positivity and negativity output. You can consciously become someone whose only focus is uplifting and supporting others.

Speaking and thinking positively about others is one way to begin consciously respecting everyone. As we practice speaking and thinking only positively, we are also practicing how to express disagreement in a way that is respectful to others. When we can disagree with one another in a respectful way, we can shift our energies to the possibility of a transformation—not just upset and anger. Think of how the lack of respect, or the perceived lack of respect, has felt injurious to you as you have been in disagreement with others. Think, if there was no lack of respect, what a game changer that could be.

Of course, being positive is not the only way to show respect. Listening to one another is also important. That is, we need to listen to one another beyond hearing the words. We need to listen for the meanings of the words, and we need to listen for the wisdom of what is being shared. Think how powerful this would be for you, if others really heard you and listened to your wisdom. Listening with respect means we understand there can be more perspectives than ours that have validity. There is an old Chinese story about the four blind men who were asked to describe an elephant. The man who was by the elephant’s trunk said it was like a big snake. The man who was by its leg talked about a strong tree. The man who was by the elephant’s tail talked about a tough rope. The man by its stomach talked about a robust boat. Each man was correct, but alone they did not give a complete picture of the elephant. We miss out on much wisdom if we do not listen to others’ perspectives with respect.

If you still wonder what a difference it can make for you to consciously choose to respect all, think about your own experiences again as well as looking farther out into the world at others’ exchanges. Adding respect to any of these situations would have shifted and upgraded the experience. How nice it would be if others finally started respecting you and your wisdom all the time and what a gift it would be for others to receive your respect all the time as well. If you try this experiment of respecting all, you will be able to witness for yourself what a game changer it can be—as your choice also shines in and washes over your life.  

I challenge us all to a 30-day respect-all diet. Try it out. See what 30 days in a row of positive thoughts and words and true listening are like. If you mess up, forgive yourself and start the 30 days over again. 30 days. Respect-all. Are you in?

Vajracharya ZhiChan, Charlotte M. Steen, is a Buddhist nun ordained in the Chinese Esoteric Hanmi) Buddhist lineage. Founder of the Upper Midwest Hanmi Buddhist Association, she works to help you be your peace, joy and radiant health through offering Hanmi Buddhist spiritual healing, teaching Hanmi meditations, and conducting Buddhist prayer services (dharma rites) to relieve suffering. For more information, call 651-278-0697, email [email protected] or visit MN-Hanmi-Buddhism. 

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