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Gillian Sanger

Abandoning our views

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I have been reflecting lately about the great challenge it can be to see through our own conditioned patterns of thought and perception. Then, I stumbled upon this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, which reads:

"For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them."

Abandoning our views can be quite the challenge, one that requires courage, vulnerability, and honesty. Is this a practice that you explore or are curious to learn more about?

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I would love to learn more about how to mindfully abandon my conditioned thought patterns and perception of things.  I feel the pandemic had this effect on me without my awareness of it happening at the time.  I have always been a creature of habit and routine, very set in my ways, resistant to change and even just down right stubborn.   But with the forced shut down, losing my ability to support myself and having no choice but to face the uncertainty, I eventually embraced it.  I began trying new things and stopping doing others that I may never have without the help of the pandemic.  I also started seeing things differently- slower, simpler and more valuable.  When the pandemic 1st hit home for me I was a raging ball of anger and fear!  By the end I was calm, peaceful and at ease.  Acceptance is something I am currently, and have been working on for quite sometime, especially in relation to  my physical body and personal goals and achievements (or lack there of).  I accepted the reality of the pandemic because I had to.  I wish I could accept the reality of the things I actually want to. 

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@JillianZ

Acceptance has definitely been a by-product of the pandemic for me as well.  The forced slowing down allowed me time I never really took to acknowledge things, feel them in my body, process them.  It is a work in progress but definitely I have embraced the opportunity to abandon my views on quite a few things during this time.

Always, this work and growth and learning is ongoing.  

Best-

Rachel

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I had a tough experience in the last few years with an autocratic person. I was a leader in a program and that person led another. When my group and I advocated for a change to a topic that involved both groups, that person went wild. That person communicated in a way that was dehumanzing. After my last enconter I was literally in a state of shock.That person organized an attempt to turn a common community against us. It ended in a stalemate. I resigned to recuperate from the withering attacks. Then, a new leader  from our group and other new members attempted interaction again. Same wild and savage response. The response was so strong and  irrational  again,that no one, even in that person's own group stood with them. When savage and wild didn't work anymore that person resigned in fury. That person no longer had any power to use as a weapon.  It has taken two years. I now can see how damaged that person must have been as a child. I can see how their power went unchecked life long making it seem like a workable style to them. With use of the loving kindness meditation over months I am just about able to recognize that that person was caught in a web of reactions their whole life. Now, I am able to breathe air and let that person breath too. I feel free to  be the person I truly am because I have some idea of how that person became that  dictatorial way. My inner peace, even when that person crosses my mind, is intact. I now recognize that being engaged in those memories depletes me. I am letting them go. It has been a long road but if I am not at foregiveness ,at least I am at tolerance. That feels like a victory for understanding. It is the outcome of time,and reflection on what made that person as they are, that got me to peace. Daniel

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Beautiful reflections Jillian, Rachel, and Daniel. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

@JillianZ - Abandoning our views is a bit tricky because it is not something we can do by force, despite the frequent mental tendency to want to work it this way. We can't deny or push away how we ourselves feel, so what I think works best is to welcome openness and curiosity to our experience. I think that by coming back to the recognition that we are all products of our nature, our nurture, and other subtle factors, we might naturally start to cultivate greater openness towards another situation or person.

@Daniel A. Detwiler's reflection explores this beautifully:

On 1/29/2021 at 8:59 PM, Daniel A. Detwiler said:

With use of the loving kindness meditation over months I am just about able to recognize that that person was caught in a web of reactions their whole life. Now, I am able to breathe air and let that person breath too.

I really love this and I think that when it comes to understanding other people, loving kindness is of great benefit, as is just the recognition that our own web of life has brought us up in a unique and mysterious way (with all its positives and negatives). 

And I resonate with both of you @JillianZ and @Rachel - on this movement towards greater acceptance. This past year has stirred a lot of things, which for me has facilitated the journey towards greater openness and acceptance - even where that meant difficult emotions and conversations had to flow through in order for me to get to certain recognitions.

Thank you all again!

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@Daniel A. Detwiler

Thank you for sharing that story/memory.  I empathize with your position of being so shocked and depleted from the attack that you needed to resign.  I left a situation years ago because it was not sustainable due to an addiction (on the other's part); for many years, I identified as the victim, the one who had been wronged.  But in the last few years, I have grown this wellspring of compassion for this person and the entire situation really.  Someone close to me recently remarked upon this compassion, seeming to fall somewhere between "does he deserve your compassion?" and "that is wonderful for you that you can have compassion."  Like you, I am not sure that the circumstance calls for forgiveness, but compassion has led me to having a peaceful heart.  I no longer carry around the resentment, anger, frustration, or shame and can just be free.  Abandoning old views indeed.

 

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I appreciate your responses Gillian and Rachel. I am continuing to feel relief from the burden of anger. To let it go as both of you have described does something very good for the one who lets it go. Having some understanding that the other was/is wounded is easier with time as my own wounds from those negative encounters yield to healing. Compassion and acceptance are the beautiful qualities that you mention that allow us to move on. It feels enhancing to respond with them rather than anger and hurt. Thanks again.

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I came across this thread again and the title of it struck me in a new way. While I still very much appreciate the original quote that inspired the conversation, I think an alternative way to approach this would be to 'make space' around our views. To abandon something almost feels forceful - like we're pushing something away. It could be a matter of semantics, and we all relate to words differently, but I think I like the idea of making space... of softening... of seeing what else might be true or possible or more whole. What are your thoughts on that?

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Hi Gillian, I think making space around the views of others, with a softening of our “usual” thoughts and reactions is an excellent strategy,  I recently was in a conversation where a heterosexual couple was showing acceptance that  drag queens be permitted to read stories at public libraries dressed in the costume of the female characters in the book they read to young children. The couple I am referencing have no children. I listened and reflected . I must say nothing has challenged my views so directly as this situation did. Oftentimes the children at story time are under 5 years of age. From my background in child protection and doing therapy with child abuse victims Every red flag in the world arose in me! I was forced internally to evaluate every single reason they arose . I simply said that if I were not aware of multiple factors relating to a particular drag queen as a person or without exploring more about the impact of a drag queen in costume on a child in my care, I would not attend such an event. Since then I have continued to evaluate the red flags and what the reasons are for having them. In my heart I can  more deeply understand that enacting the female role in a children’s book could feel wonderful  to the drag queen. That, so far, is the most softening space I have been able to develop. I am glad I made it that far. I will continue to look at the issue deeply and I am glad for the opportunity I have to consider all sides. Daniel

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Thank you for sharing this very thoughtful reflection, Daniel. Your care and capacity for honest reflection are always evidenced in your posts. This is one of many important and polarizing discussions of the times we are living in and I think it is so beautiful that you are taking time to explore your inner workings. We need more of this across this board. It's also a great example of softening as opposed to abandoning. Thank you again for sharing 🙂

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