Learning, then choosing action

Laurelhurst Park, Portland, Oregon

Laurelhurst Park, Portland, Oregon

How to evolve by shifting priorities

A close friend once had to establish communication with a family member whose relationship had become difficult. He went to his mentor and asked for advice. The advice was simple: "Have the conversation you will be proud of when you are eighty."

Suddenly my friend was no longer so concerned about establishing his point of view, convincing anyone of a behavioral change, or "having his way." He was no longer after short term goals. He was now playing the long game.

When we realize the precious nature of our tenuous and temporary relationships with others, the tone we take when conversing with them will necessarily change. It becomes easier for us to see from a more loving vantage point. While it can seem very important to have a desired outcome in any given interaction (winning the other person over), it can cause long term damage to that relationship.

When we realize that everyone is evolving at their own pace, and that others are doing the best they can, given the tools and knowledge at their disposal, it becomes possible to have more compassion. By projecting myself forward in time to the age of eighty, I can see that short term concerns need not drive my present actions. I may do more listening and less talking. I may be more loving and less judgmental.

My friend's family encounter went much more smoothly than he had anticipated, and the relationship was strengthened. The poetic truth of his teacher's words has stayed with me also. 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Corinthians 13:4-8New International Version (NIV)

"Correcting the intellect" means that I can open myself to input from sources other than my own thinking. Vedic readings, biblical teachings, inspiring words from teachers and mentors are all available to me, and are preferable to whatever fear-driven short term concerns I may have in this moment.

Vedic knowledge meetings and group meditations are also recommended and very useful.

Portland view from Hotel

Portland view from Hotel