What is respect? The dictionary reveals several different meanings, revolving around the showing of esteem, deferential regard, appreciation, acknowledgement, to give reference to, to show consideration and to avoid violation of or interference with others, rules or things. To me, the deeper and most important meaning of respect is that of being charitable; to truly display respect one must essentially be charitable. How can you show respect without also being benevolent towards humanity, without showing forbearance in judging others?
A theological definition of charity might focus firstly upon the love of God (or God like being), and also on the love of oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love. It implies recognition that we are all human beings together, that we are in fact all one. We are one and the same, of the same source, each reflecting another aspect of oneself. Instead of looking at differences between groups of people, or indeed between religions, a spiritually oriented person focuses upon our similarities. If we were all to do this, there would be no violence, no wars, no lack of respect for others, and no lack of self-respect.
I watched a very powerful film the other day; “Milk” about Harvey Milk, the gay rights activist who was murdered in San Francisco in 1979. It’s well worth watching as a reminder of what a lack of respect and charity does to oneself as well as to those around you. To not show respect is to reveal the lack of true education, a complete lack of understanding. To better educate yourself in terms of charity and respect it is important to go on your own spiritual journey.
Over the centuries we have time and again persecuted people and caused chaos and wars in the name of “protecting ourselves from evil influences”. What have we really achieved? We have displayed our misunderstanding, or lack of forbearance and when this happens, everybody loses. What goes around comes around as the saying goes.
What can we learn from such events? We can learn to appreciate that each and every person is on their own path and has a right to be there, no matter how different they are from you in appearance, actions or beliefs. There is no “super human race” or one religion or cult that is right whilst another is wrong. We can learn to question the things which we are told, to seek a balanced perspective, to no longer jump to conclusions.
My dad always said that one should do someone a good turn if you could, but never to intentionally do them a bad turn. That is a very good philosophy. It’s what “live and let live” embodies. It means so much more that merely looking out for oneself and letting everyone else do the same; it implies helping another if you can and always doing your best in any set of circumstances.
I was lucky enough to spend several wonderful days in Japan last year and appreciated the care which goes into almost everything that is done, whether it is how immaculately a garden is designed and looked after, or how each dish is prepared to please every sense. Every task is given respect and every person is given respect. I came away thinking how many of we westerners could have much to learn from the Japanese culture and their spiritual nature.
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis downloads