An Impossible Idea

June 14, 2010

I have been imagining impossible ideas for last ninety nine days. Every morning I would imagine something about myself, something about life, something about God. Today’s impossible idea was: “we enjoy the company of people with whom we have nothing in common.” This idea came up in response to the presidential election that is going on in Poland right now. There is one candidate in this election that would be quite controversial if anyone bothered to pay any attention to him. His ideas, observations and points are so outrageous, so offensive, so unacceptable to the Polish society, to the Polish culture, to the Polish way of being, that they go unheard and the man is dismissed as a ridiculous figure. And yet his ideas really are valuable, his questions are often valid, his points and observations are quite progressive and important. But no one listens to him. I listened to him today. I read some of his articles, watched his presentations, and realized that people refuse to hear him not because what he says is unacceptable, but because of the way he says it. This man is not interested in dialogue, in debate, in conversation. This man is not interested in what other people think, he does not consider how what he says lands in another person’s reality. He knows what he knows, he knows that he is right, he knows that everyone else is wrong and he knows that everyone else should listen to him and obey. People could listen to this man, I thought, if he wanted to be heard, but he doesn’t want to be heard. He doesn’t care to be heard by people who are “wrong”, he wants them to obey and follow. I thought that, and the impossible idea came: what would it be like if we could listen to people whom we consider wrong? What would it be like if we could actually enjoy people who see reality in a completely different way from ours? What if we could enjoy the crazy people, the wrong people, the bad people, the misguided people? Not tolerate but actually enjoy? I thought it was a pretty good idea. An hour or so later a friend of mine shared with me a talk he attended, about lucid dreaming and enlightenment. I thought that what he was saying was utterly wrong, his idea of what enlightenment is was silly and misguided, and the whole dream connection utterly ridiculous, and I explained this to him clearly and decisively. As I proved him wrong, and proved myself right, I thought about my impossible idea for today. It was a very good idea, and what I was being was the exact opposite. I did just what this politician does. I knew I was right and I did not care to listen to my friend who was wrong. I knew I was right and I was not interested in a conversation, I was giving a lecture. I wasn’t being with my friend, I was not aware of him at all, I could have had this entire conversation with myself, my friend didn’t even have to be there. I was not being with my friend, I was not being at all. I was so focused on the idea, on the thought, on the argument, that I lost sight of myself, of my body, of how I felt. But I didn’t have to do that. I could have, I thought, listened to my friend. I could have heard his perspective on reality, and I could have enjoyed hearing it because the process of hearing it would be the process of being with him, being present with who he is. I would have become so much more present as myself in this process of hearing a different perspective from my own and not going into reaction to it. I could have become so much more present as who I am, and I could have invited my friend to become so much more present as who he is. The experience of being, of experiencing the presence of who we are could have become the focus of our conversation and we could have realized that my idea does not define and limit me, no more than his idea defines and limits him. We could have realized that who we are is beyond all ideas, it is a space where unlimited ideas can open up and flourish. We could have realized that there is no end to ideas we can come up with, discuss, consider. There is no reason to cling to a particular idea when we can create millions of them in a second. If I was willing to talk and listen to someone who was wrong, If I was willing to hear someone who’s opinion was entirely different than mine, I could have become fully present as who I am, as God. And so could he. But I didn’t. Instead I proved my point.

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