A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Becoming Radical starts with Respect

When getting ready to make permanent changes in your life, you need to have a plan. After all you want these changes to be beneficial, not only for yourself, but everyone around you. Respect is a strong basis for the changes you are about to make. As I present these topics over the next several days, it’s not about following my thoughts to the letter, rather adopt what is useful, and make changes in a way that works for you.

Respect entails many directions, and all are equally valuable, because they are all part of the big picture. If you were born into an Asian family, respect for your parents was one of the first things you learned. You were also taught to show respect to elders, teachers, and many other groups. Respect for yourself is also taught, but with you as part of the whole, not with you at the center. You have an inherent dignity, by having been born a human. This inherent dignity is based, in the ability for self improvement, and altruism. Accepting that you are one, with all others, and we all share the same desires, leads us to consider the impact our choices will have on others. As you develop self control, and master your desires and thoughts, you are able to respect others, regardless of their circumstances, and to act from compassion, rather than competition.

Respecting others on an equal basis to us, leads to support of non-violence, support for human rights, and refusing to take part in discriminatory practices, whether based on sex, race, creed, or any other divisive practice. We cease to concern ourselves as citizens of a nation; rather we develop a global outlook, one humanity, and one planet. Where diversity is accepted and celebrated, while accepting the autonomy for people to make their own choices in live. Instead of accumulating for own use, we attempt to contribute to the benefit of all beings.

How do we start to develop this respect, for ourselves and others? You can start by practicing metta, or loving kindness towards yourself. http://rashmidevi.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/metta-bhavana-meditation/ is a recent WordPress blog post, which will give you basic instructions in how to start. Over time you may find yourself, less critical, more accepting of yourself, and others.

Respect also needs to include the world we live in. The air we breathe, the water that cleanses us, the earth that sustains us, as well as the diversity of life that shares this small ball in the heavens that we call home. This isn’t rushing out to buy the latest save the world technology; rather it begins with simple steps. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and regift where possible. Plan your trips if driving to maximize the stops in an efficient route, and if possible walk, cycle or use public transit. Buy smaller quantities if you find yourself throwing out perishables on a regular basis. Food waste is a serious problem, for a better understanding check out the following TED video.

Finally respect has to include the process of changing. Yes we are creatures that like what is. Our bodies fight to maintain the weight we are at, this is a genetic holdover from our hunter gatherer ancestors. So you might even say our weight gain, is all in our genes. If your change is eliminating something, such as smoking, drinking or other consumption issue, you will with all likelihood have physical and psychological cravings. So respect that change takes time, and will not always be easy, but it is attainable.

This series starts here.

Next will be Acceptance which goes hand in hand with respect.

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4 thoughts on “Becoming Radical starts with Respect

  1. I’m old enough to remember never calling adults by their first name, giving up my seat for adults, etc. Remember those days?

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