Freedom of thought

Minor Friar has a post today that made me think about imposing my views on others. The temptation to impose my views always exists. The more I react out of fear the more likely it is to happen. His post made me think again of Thich Nhat Hanh. Nhat Hanh has a mindfulness training devoted to Freedom of Thought.

Aware of the suffering brought about when I impose my views on others, I am committed not to force others, even my children, by any means whatsoever – such as authority, threat, money, propaganda or indoctrination – to adopt my views. I will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide. I will, however, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness through compassionate dialogue.”–Thich Nhat Hanh.

In looking at my own work I can see at times this tendency to impose my views. Today as I read the commentaries on the Da Vinci Code I saw many people have emphasized the truthfulness of their assertions. With such an approach there is a tendency to set one against another. Such an emphasis can lead to violence. It may not be an actual striking of blows but such thinking leads to trivialization of another’s arguments and that can lead to violence. Can we eliminate violence from our thoughts and our language? Probably not, but we can become mindful of our language and mindful use of language could be the beginning of a nonviolent dialogue. Peace.

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