By Khentrul Rinpoche In Tibetan, we use the term rimé to describe a mind “free from bias.” It is a particular attitude that helps people work with diversity in a way that supports their own personal development while promoting greater harmony with those who hold different views. We can call this attitude the rimé philosophy.
Ultimately we all want the same thing; we just have different ways of going about it.Receptivity
As you begin to open yourself more and more to the lessons that life has to offer, you will naturally be influenced by the information you take in. When new ideas are introduced into the mind, they go through a process of integration in which the mind tries to reconcile what this new information means in relation to existing ideas.
At this point you have a choice. You can choose to disregard the new information, in which case you are left no better off than when you started, or you can choose to actively seek to understand the implications of this new information, which will lead you to a more robust and integrated mind. If you choose the latter, you will need to develop the quality of curiosity.
Curiosity is an inquisitive mind that desires to understand. In a way we can say that curiosity is a reaction to uncertainty. When such a mind sees two conflicting ideas, it desires to reconcile the uncertainty regarding which idea makes more sense. This leads to the asking of questions, and when we ask questions, we get answers. The new information these answers provide helps us to fill in holes in our understanding, leading to the removal of uncertainty.
Related: How to Open Up to a Painful World
To cultivate such a mind we need to nurture our thirst for understanding. We need to counteract the passive mind that complacently just absorbs things. This can be done by engaging with each opportunity as though it were the missing piece in a great puzzle. We develop joy in the very process of working things out and revel in the challenges that life presents us with. In this way, everything becomes fascinating, because everything has the capacity to teach us something. This is the mind of curiosity.
The previous three qualities of tolerance, receptivity, and curiosity combine together to form a powerful engine for the acquisition of information. A person who has cultivated all these qualities will be very much like a sponge. They will pull in as much as they can whenever they can, and because they actively engage in clarifying their understanding, the quality of their view will be very strong and very broad.
Having such a view provides a practitioner with a very unique opportunity. The more you learn about diverse approaches to similar problems, the more flexibility of mind you are able to exhibit. You can start to see how different ideas are more suited to different conditions. So when those conditions arise, you are able to respond in an appropriate manner that is capable of optimizing the benefit for yourself and others.
This sort of flexibility arises out of an awareness that clearly perceives what is going on in any given moment. This discriminating awareness can be cultivated by exposing the mind to a wide variety of circumstances and then looking at those circumstances from many angles. Doing so reduces clinging to reality as being just one way and promotes a malleable mind that can adapt very easily to variation.
Developing an unbiased attitude does not mean we have to think of all paths as being equal, as this is simply not true. Each has its own flavor and strengths, and therefore what we are trying to do is develop greater awareness of what diversity has to offer. Our aim is to clearly distinguish between their differences, respecting each as a skillful means to guide different sentient beings toward greater happiness.
PRACTICEOpening Up to Others
In a relaxed position, establish a neutral mind through the practice of mindfulness of breathing.
Begin by identifying a person who holds views different from your own. This can be anyone who provokes a feeling of aversion if you even consider speaking with them. Imagine that this person approaches you in the street and starts a conversation. Observe how you feel. Can you detect any barriers between you? Any resistance to listening? Try to get a sense of this closed-off mindset.
Now bring an awareness of the present moment into the scenario. When you encounter this person, focus on what is happening here and now. Release the history you have with this person, and simply observe what is being said in this moment. Similarly, let go of any expectations for where this conversation may lead. Stay in the present, engaged and aware of what is going on. How does this change the way you experience the scenario?
Now consider what is appearing to you. Here is a person. A person who has unique hopes and dreams. A person who has unique experiences. This person is one of a kind. There is no one else who has the exact perspective on life that this person has, and right now this person is here, talking with you. In what ways could this encounter teach you something? Think of the potential, not merely in terms of factual information but also in terms of who you are as a person and how you react to different things. Run through the scenario again and imagine different ways in which you could really make the most of this situation.
Rest in any insights that arise.
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