Today we ask that you are patient and tolerant with people who are “not on your level.”

If you are open to these words, then it is likely that you are a very open-minded individual.  You may engage in practices that increase and stabilize your open-mindedness, sanity, and compassion — like meditative, or spiritual practices.

And yet is very common for even the most open-minded, spiritual person to feel terrible frustration with other people who are “not on their level.”

Why shouldn’t they?  Violence, hatred, bigotry, greed, environmental destruction — how foul and blind and perverse mankind is.

Even at family gatherings, you may encounter the small-minded, the self-absorbed, the greedy, the cruel. You may encounter religious fundamentalists.  You may encounter people who are convinced that utterly insane beliefs are true and right.

What is a sensitive, open-minded person to do in such a world?

Sometimes you may feel you don’t belong on this planet.

This, of course, isn’t true.

You do belong on this planet.

Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

What would humanity do without people who are open-minded and sensitive?

This world needs you.  Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

And it may be true that many people you encounter are “not on your level.”

That does not make them worthless, or irredeemable.

Five year olds are not on your level, either.

They are your brothers and sisters.  They do not know any better, that is all.

As children, you have childish tastes.  You like bread and pizza and pasta and cookies.

As you grow up, your tastes may become more rarefied.  You learn to appreciate more subtle flavors.

But if no one ever exposed you to more subtle flavors, you might still only like eating bread and cookies — as so many grown-ups do.

It is the same with everything.  With food, with art, with spirituality.

Some people can appreciate a nuanced, subtle meal.  Others want bread and cookies.  They may even throw a tantrum if you give them a nuanced, subtle meal, when what they really want is bread and cookies.

If you yell at them for being like this, then you are a child yourself.

Can you have compassion for your brothers and sisters?  Can you refrain from yelling at them, or preaching at them, or getting into angry arguments?  Can you refrain from judging them, and complaining about them?

Can you refrain from hating them?

Can you refrain from being condescending toward them?

Can you be secure enough in yourself to just sit with them, in all their frailty — and see that they are you?

You have the capacity to be as blind, childish, and self-absorbed as anyone you judge.

The more compassion you feel toward “people who are not on your level,” the more compassionate you will be with yourself.

You belong on this planet.  You are a human, like it or not.  Please learn to love your brothers and sisters, in all their frailty.

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