Often I have the opportunity to meet people who believe things other than I do about all sorts of matters. Those opportunities can be very scary at first and a thousand questions run through my head. Will I be accepted for who I am? Will I treat them how I like to be treated? Will they understand what I am trying to explain? Will they still like me? Will I still like them?
Often that fear slips away when we start to talk, and continue to talk, and don’t stop talking for hours. Language can be a beautiful method of communication about things which regularly cannot be spoken. Words can somehow mix with gestures, feelings and glances in a way which gets across an idea to another person and suddenly something happens. The other person hears you. You hear the other person. You both listen. You both start to learn from each other. Isn’t that the heart of understanding, knowledge and experience? We don’t know anything more than we know, so how can we create anything new? I don’t think we can. I think to understand something new, we have to put ourselves in scary, new, and exciting danger zones. We have to travel, we have to share, we have to make ourselves vulnerable. When we do this we are able to take in new scenery and new ideas, new ways of looking at things and new ways of experienceing life.
This can go for friends, strangers, family members and lovers. It can go for students, teachers, mentors and mentorees. For me it often happens with spiritual people who have a quality which is hard to describe – almost like a kind of peace in their minds. There are certain people who are wonderful to be around because they don’t want you to be anyone other than yourself. When you are around them you relax, you can just be yourself forever. With those kinds of people I relax. I often want to stay with them forever. We usually think about things very differently, but that has nothing to do with anything. What matters is that indescribable something which makes it possible for me to be myself around them. After such an experience this weekend I read my thought of the day from the Dalai Lama:

The spiritual discovery of people of other faiths is the greatest challenge of the twenty-first century. Some will see this as a threast to identity, others will see this as a completion of identity, the discovery of lost cousins and their worlds. The essence of humility.
Humility and friendship I would say...what a wonderful challenge.