Have you ever had a conversation with a close family member who holds beliefs contrary to yours?

When I engage in conversation with a loved one who conveys beliefs -contrary to mine – what do I do? I could grit my teeth or become angry or…….take a deep breath and remember what?

I have learned that I can freely discuss a belief or an opinion and say – “Hey, I like this debate with you!” 

This change from contrariness to debate can relieve a lot of tension. It can allow us to relax and remember our love for each other. Otherwise, we could get into a war and be enemies and never speak with each other again. This has happened in some families, including some of my family members.

I am working on healing this by taking this new approach. To be in debate is an active and momentary / present event. On the contrary, to hold to a strict belief may keep us from opening up and allowing us to see and feel each other in the present. 

I must also be ready to experience people who adhere to strict beliefs and will not or cannot comprehend debate or discuss these beliefs.This is a most difficult situation, but does not have to end the love we have for each other, either.

When any debate or understanding is impossible in the larger world…..I must remember the loving-kindness and compassion felt with close family, friends, communities and teachers. 

By Susan Kirchoff
One of Nalandabodhi’s Karunikas, in response to the war in Ukraine

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