There is a need for us to accept changes, but not at the cost of compromising our ethics. This is a “tough call” because, as times, change morality can change to. What is acceptable today was forbidden yesterday, but the opposite can be said, if we look into our history.
If we observe the Yamas and Niyamas, or The Ten Commandments, we should not change our morality because it is in fashion. On the other hand, our neighbors may be of a religion, which we do not really understand.
Their families live by a strict moral code, which may not exactly agree with our own religious teachings. Perhaps they do not understand Yogic philosophy either.
What should we do? If our neighbors practice non-harming, are model citizens, and live by a moral code, we should accept them as they are. This is the basic building block to all friendship; accept your friends as they are. Therefore, tolerance is needed in a multitude of relationships.
Multi-cultural societies require tolerance to live in. If we do not agree with the principles of tolerance, we can withdraw from a multi-cultural society and live in a sectarian society – where everyone shares the same religious beliefs, as we do.
However, is there really a religious, moral, and ethical utopia, where everyone agrees with every word that we think? In our sub-conscious imaginations, this place exists, but in reality, it does not. People do not think the same thoughts as we do.
If someone imitates you because of oppression, there is an under current of rebellion in our midst. Our children and pets cannot be forced into a mold, in such a way, that our opinions are echoed in their existence.
As an example: If you have a stubborn old Tom cat for a pet, you have learned to accept him for what he is. Some people dislike cats because they cannot control them, but the cat lover tolerates his or her pet, without conditions.
We should give other non-harming people the same respect. What a stagnant and boring world it would be if everyone agreed with us all the time. It is the uniqueness of each person, which causes relationships, and the world, to evolve.
Now what should you do if your neighbor is harmful, unethical, and morally bankrupt? Try to communicate, and listen, because peace talks do not happen without dialogue.
Who should listen first? You should, because it allows you to understand the other point of view. By giving the other person a chance to express his or her views, without interruption, you are letting this person know you consider them worthy.
If peaceful co-existence is not an option, you can still move, and you have the inherent right to defend your own existence. However, Yogic teaching shows us to explore the peaceful options of tolerance and acceptance first.
Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He is an author of many books on the subject of Yoga and has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.