Guest Post from Bethany Whisenant on Tolerance, and Becoming a New Student of the Eternal Dharma!

Well, let me start off by saying how honored I am that Andrew personally asked me to write a guest post.  I haven’t posted on my own blog in two months, but he still wanted my input.  I appreciate it.  I am going to be mentioning friends of mine in this, and I will use nicknames for them.  It might seem silly, but they’ll know who they are.

Bear, my fiancé, is always supportive of me.  Always.  We’re both quite stubborn, but we are able to put that aside to work together in our relationship.  However, we do argue sometimes.  We had an argument today.

Let me sidetrack a bit.  I am what you might call a “bleeding heart,” or a hippie.  Any number of names that translate to “overly sensitive.”  I recently found my true spiritual path, with much help from Andrew, and consider myself a Dharmist in progress.  I’m still discovering much about my new path, and trying to build new habits surrounding it.  The only one that I’ve been consistently successful in is vegetarianism, but I push on.

My best friend, Llama, is a devoted Christian.  When I explained my decision to her, and why, she asked me what she could do to help.  If it weren’t for her, I probably would have eaten a big, juicy hamburger on my second day.  Her faith blatantly states that it is the only Truth, but she was willing to set that aside and support me in any way she could. Why is this?  Because she loves me.  She respects me, and she wants me to be happy, even if that involves me doing something that goes entirely against her beliefs.

Bear and I argued today, because I was crying.  I know, that’s the opposite order in which it’s supposed to happen.  I started crying when I saw an article about a Mosque burning down in Joplin, Missouri.  The link on Project Conversion’s Facebook simply stated; “Please, please, please don’t let it be arson…” Bear and I argued, because I allow myself to be so upset by things that I can’t do anything about.

Our country still hasn’t recovered from the shootings in the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.  We haven’t recovered from the massacre on the night of the Batman premiere.  We haven’t recovered from the Virginia Tech shootings, the Columbine shootings, 9/11, Pearl Harbor…The list goes on and on.

I cannot leave my house without seeing hate.  I can’t log on to Facebook.  I can’t even turn on the television.  It has infected us.  It’s worked its way into our bloodstreams, like a worldwide plague.  The only vaccine is to take a lesson from my friend, Llama.  Despite having every reason to argue with me, and try to change my mind, she loved and accepted me.

What business is it of ours what our friends and neighbors believe?  Who they love, what they eat?  Why should we judge them based on our own beliefs?  We shouldn’t judge them, at all.  We should love them.  We should stick daisies in the rifle barrels.

Photo by Bernie Boston–The Washington Evening Star

This isn’t a choice.  It’s a necessity.  We CAN do something about it.  Gandhi said,

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.

So, judge me if you will.  But if your heart is ripped out by every suicide, every homicide, and every law that makes one human being less of a person than another, then join me.  The only force that is stronger than hate is love.  Let’s prove it.

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Thank you Bethany for being with us today. You can read more about Bethany’s journey with the Eternal Dharma on her blog, www.dharmistinprogress.wordpress.com

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