Winter 2006

The other day I was looking at a pattern made up completely and solely of perfectly shaped hexagons. I realized while looking at one of these patterns, that everything in life is "point of view". If you lived in the northeast section of one of these patterns, then you'd say that your world was constructed of diagonal hexagons layed out from the NorthEast to the SouthWest. If you lived in the central North or South you might say that your world was made up of hexagons running parallel due North and South. If you lived in the NorthWest one might say that hexagons run from NorthWest to SouthEast. If one viewed the pattern from directly above they might say that the pattern is made up of multiple hexagons gathered together in a flower motif pattern. All of these points of view would be correct, and no ones "truth" would infringe on the correctness or "truth" of anyone else. Life is a similar pattern. 
In Life, things happen, multiple events occur. Different people in different places have different views on what took place and why. We hold onto our view because it is how we see it and it is how we make sense of the world. The patterns in life are different than the example of witnesses at an accident scene. At an accident scene, many different people may recount the same event in different ways, but there is still only one empirical "truth", even though a chain of events happened and people may have witnessed them differently, in reality, only one "true" scenario occurred. But, there are other patterns in life which can be viewed more like the hexagon pattern.
In our country, depending upon where one lives, we have completely different experiences. We have completely different views about what the problems are and what needs to be done about them. Someone in the industrial NorthEast is going to have a completely different worldview from someone living in the South or rural Midwest. In the agricultural South and rural Midwest people hold the views they have based on small town and farming needs. In the cities, in the North, and West people hold their points of view based on civic needs, the plight of the homeless and the infrastructure of the city. These are a part of the whole and needn't be mutually exclusive.
In the world at large, In different cultures, there are different belief systems which people live by. Some cultures are ruled by brute force. The strongest kid on the playground rules, some cultures flex their military might, for some, the one with the most money wins, for some religion forms their point of view, many think that "our" religion is "right", the Bible, the Torah, The Koran; for some, The New York Times is a bible, holding all the "truths", for some, science solves the world. In this post-modern multicultural world, we have to move beyond acceptance of the other to higher realms of consciousness which will allow us to gain perspective of the whole while we acknowledge everyone's right to have their own "select" point of view.
Take a married couple for example. Their life together becomes a woven pattern. The "truth" of one side doesn't necessarily negate the "truth" of the other. Each may just be observing the whole of the marriage from a different point of view. It's like the story of the four blind men standing around an elephant each describing different parts, a skinny tail, fat legs, a long trunk, none of which seem to be related, yet each is describing a different part of the same creature, the unseen elephant. There is an elephant in our living room, in our country, and in our world. And we're not looking at it or talking about it. We live what we know. We live and form our world view through our experience. The Eskimoes have many words for "snow". The Dalai Lama said recently that Tibetan monks don't have a word comparable to the English word for "stress". We are governed by language and how capable we are of getting our mind around certain ideas. We are limited by our inability to conceive of more complex patterns. We choose to limit our choices. We are lazy. We hold onto our limited world view. Rev. Howard Friend, said that the largest problem we are facing in our world today is, "black and white" thinking. I agree. Republicans, Democrats, husbands , wives, countries, religions, races, parents, children, siblings, you and me, none of us are above it. We all think that we are right no matter how much lip service we give to awareness and open mindedness. No matter how much we pray, or meditate, or practice yoga, we are still stuck in our own world view. Can we stop being offended by one another. Can we start letting each other have their own "point of view" and accept that each view is just a part of the whole of this pattern we call Life.
I'm going to try.