Our real guide is our own mind, our sense of reason. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This quote covers nearly all of humanity. Yes, there are some who have issues, and who cannot behave or be reasonable. But they are few and far between, no matter how often they show up in the news.
The rest of us have a mind, and a sense of reason. We have ethics and rules. They aren’t always the same, and in that, we have friction and even conflict. But we can still talk, we can still try to resolve issues together.
But as long as everyone is reasonable and uses their sense of reason, we can come to some conclusion, which likely will include some points of agreement and some points of contention.
However, we don’t always use reason, or it isn’t always the first thing we think of to try, right? I’ll admit that despite all of my best attempts, I still can screw it up. But there is always the voice of reason on which we can fall back.
Why is being reasonable important?
Wow, that’s an oxymoron. “Just be reasonable!” You’ve heard it. You may even have said it. However, in my experience, it is usually said to try to cover for the fact that the person saying it is trying to get you to do something which is entirely unreasonable, right?
But this quote isn’t about misrepresenting the word ‘reasonable’ nor is it about abandoning our sense of reason because of someone pleading for us to do just that. This quote is about using our reason as our guide. Note that the quote says ‘guide’ and not ‘rule-book’ – as there will always be exceptions.
And that is where reason is tested. Many times, a call to ‘be reasonable’ is just an excuse, but we must be prepared for the exceptions in life. In this manner, we can try to guide ourselves through the troubled seas of life as best we can. It won’t be easy, and it will never be perfect, but we can get by, if we pay attention to reason.
Where can I apply this in my life?
We all have times when we are unreasonable. Even by objective standards, we all mess it up from time to time. If we go by the judgement of others, we probably mess it up a whole lot more. But we’re all human, and we need to be reasonable about minor differences of opinion, right?
Reason can also be applied to most situations. Often, our first response is based on emotion, and that can take us down paths best left untrod. In my experience, most anger and hate based responses are based in emotion. Most of these reactions couldn’t stand up to reason.
That’s why delay is one of our better tools. It allows us to calm our emotions down, and get past the initial hurt, anger, or other strong emotion. Then reason can begin to take hold. Once our mind and our reason is engaged, we can usually handle our side of the conversation.
I say our side, because there is no way to control the other people involved. You can be the most calm and rational person on the planet, but if they aren’t, they will likely get to set the tone of the exchange. Then it becomes a matter of trying to get them to delay and engage their sense f reason. It will not be easy, but certainly worth the effort.
Remember, any time you deal with another person, you are dealing with a creature of emotion more than a creature of logic. Even if you are having a good day, and being ‘reasonable,’ there is no reason to expect that everyone else is, right?
To me, that is why we must remember to conduct ourselves in the best possible manner as often as we can. If two people, both being unreasonable, get to talking, how well will it go? That’s really not a great combination, is it? I don’t think so.
However, if two people who are both doing well and are being very reasonable, even if they get into an argument, it will likely be a very principled and thoughtful disagreement. And that is certainly a better path to be on, isn’t it?
Even if only one is being reasonable, there is a chance of getting the other person to see the light, and to get their mind right, and begin to be a bit more reasonable.
We can be reasonable, if we choose. We can encourage others to be reasonable as well. Even if we disagree, we can be reasonable in our discussion, and come to the conclusion as gentle beings.
But it will take effort. And that effort starts within ourselves. We must work to use our own minds well, to avoid the trap of the rush of emotion, and we must use our sense of reason.
Are you willing to do this, after all, it is the only reasonable thing to do…
- Anger vs Sadness (hassaanabdeen.wordpress.com
- Obstacles to Happiness (projecteve.com)
- 5 Reasons to be Kind (theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
- Another Day in Positive Paradise… (mappalicious.com)