"Do you want to be right, or do you want peace?"
Dr, Wayne Dyer
We've all been there. Someone says or does something that sets off alarm bells in our head. We know they're wrong. They're not only wrong, they are really, really wrong. Then that voice of the ego kicks in and tells us, "well, you'd just better set them straight because you know you're right and they're wrong!" Before you know it, the need to be right, the need to change other people's ideas and behaviors, takes over like kids on a sugar rush after a birthday party!
What is it with humans that they feel they have to be right all of the time? I'm not saying that there aren't circumstances where things are happening in the world that are definitely wrong from anyone's perspective, like violence, terrorism, pain and suffering - and let us not forget the current political atmosphere. We can see the wrong in all of it like a neon sign blazing through the darkness. Yet if we rush at it with philosophical and verbal guns blazing, all we do is fan the flames and give whatever we are fighting against more fuel.
Then how do we deal with all of this and still find peace? We start by choosing our battles. Our egos start taking charge when we are very little. We mimic the behavior of our elders. We hear them yelling at the TV, or at each other, fighting to prove who is right, who has the superior position, what is acceptable and what is not. Often it's over things that, a year from now, no one will even remember, but that will have robbed them of a few moments of peace that they can never get back. So what if you don't like the fashions your kids like, or the music? So what if your front and back yards don't look like House Beautiful? So what if you decide to stop dying your hair, wear yoga pants and take up organic gardening? Does it bring you peace?
On the other hand, when we see harm coming to ourselves or others, when we see injustice and hate gaining ground, we need to step in but not with the same ego infused idea that being right is an excuse for acting out in negative ways. If peaceful protest and strength in love and numbers worked for Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., it can certainly work for us. Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are and find like minded people to join you. Fighting for animal rights? Go vegan. Petition for jail time for people who abuse animals. Politically involved? Volunteer to make phone calls, stuff envelopes, knock on doors and hold peaceful town hall meetings. Get involved but for the right reasons, not the ego's reasons.
As I write this I am running a few loads of laundry using chemical free detergents and dryer sheets. I am sipping organically grown coffee and nibbling at toast made by a local baker smeared with a vegan cream cheese substitute. After I post this blog I am going online to write a letter to my state senator in support of keeping fracking out of my area. Tomorrow I am going to the local farmer's market to support my neighbors and buy local. This is what I can do, with what I have, from where I am. I don't have to be right. I just have to do right.
And so it is.