Unbiased love is undoubtedly difficult to generate, but if you practice with determination, day by day your attitude will be transformed. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
Unbiased love, that’s an interesting term, isn’t it? Why would the word ‘love’ need a modifier? As humans, it seems we apply our own personal bias to everything we see, hear, or do. Today’s quote urges us against applying our personal bias to love, and in doing so, transform our attitude.
As we reduce our bias, we become better able to open our hearts to a true and unbiased love. As we do that, subtle changes will occur in our attitudes, and we will indeed, be transformed.
The biases we have against others, mostly based in fictions of our mind or our story, do nothing to help us, and only serve as a drag both to our own progress, as well as that of all of human-kind.
Why is the reduction of bias important?
The word bias, as defined at thefreedictionary.com is defined as being : “A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.” or “An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.” In short, bias is part of the worst of humanity, and something to reduce as much as we can.
Bias, whether against a particular person, group of people, race, creed, ethnicity or any other way of dividing people only does that, divides people. Sometimes there is a very real basis for that bias. Usually, it’s just the way we were raised, the stories we were told, and continue to tell ourselves.
The bias we have against anyone will prejudicially cause us to judge them, not on their merits, but on our beliefs about them and their motivations. The quote urges us to do what we can to eliminate this poison from our hearts, so that our love (not romantic, but fraternal or brotherly love) can flow freely. As we reduce our bias, our attitudes are freed from the bondage of our prejudices, and we are transformed. I believe that this is a worthy goal, do you agree?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Wow, that’s a scary topic. To reduce our bias, our prejudice, we’re going to have to look into some of the darker corners of ourselves. We’re going to have to shine the light of truth and see some of the uglier sides of ourselves.
However, if we don’t, the dark thoughts and darker motives will continue to rot us from the inside. They will continue to influence our decisions and our judgements, and we will continue to behave poorly because of them. We will show others our dark secrets by our words and our deeds, but we will refuse to see them.
I think that is both less than brilliant, as well as less than healthy. Both for our social lives, as well as for our own health and well being. We can probably live with these prejudices, but like the Hollywood stereotype of a Southern Bigot, we will live in emotional and spiritual squalor.
What are some of the things that you pre-judge based on superficial information? Recently, in the US, there was a black guy shot by a white guy, and the media used their bias to try to define the crime as an act of racism and hate. They went so far as to alter known facts to suit their bias, and tried to portray their lies as the truth.
As more and more of the truth has come out, more and more of their stories have had to be re-written, retracted, or admitted as outright lies. Their bias caused them much damage, and much embarrassment. It remains to be seen if it has helped their attitude, or if they are still just as biased.
Think through the things that cause knee-jerk reactions, without thought, based on bias or prejudice. Take a moment and think of how the removal of that bias will impact your attitude towards others. Think about how you will be transformed. Do you see yourself becoming a better person? I do.
What can you do to help eliminate some of your pre-judged beliefs about a person, a race, group, ethnicity, or whatever you have a bias against? I would recommend starting out with some knowledge. You will likely need to go outside your usual circles to get it. One stereotypical Southern Bigot asking another stereotypical Southern Bigot isn’t going to get any useful information, are they?
I would check libraries or the internet for information about the group(s) in question, and learn more about who they are, what they stand for, and how they became the way they are. Perhaps they are also acting on old prejudices as well.
Once you know a little more about a group, once you have a little understanding about them, you will probably feel a little less of a bias against them, and feel a small change in attitude. When you feel you have gone as far as you can with just books, it’s probably time to step it up.
The next thing I would recommend is to try to find a person of that group and get to know them. It might start with a casual “Hello,” and progress to casual conversations. If things go well, perhaps even to a friendship. Even if it doesn’t, you still have a better understanding of that group.
In getting to know even one person of that group, I have found that many of the pre-judgement, or bias, I once had simply falls away. In finding a concrete example that counters the stories you have heard and believed, you can shatter them, and begin to build a new belief about the group, one based on honest truth.
The quote says it will be difficult to become completely unbiased, as it is part of the human condition, but it is something on which we can make a little progress every day. With determination, we can become a better person, we can transform our attitude, as well as ourselves.
What will you do to help reduce your bias? To help you be better able to love without bias? To transform yourself and your attitude? Your curiosity will be your cure.