There are many simple, yet profound, concepts and sayings we have heard and
know to be accurate, but which we do not comprehend fully and do not actively
practice. We throw these aphorisms and saying right and left and fail to understand
what they actually mean. No, not the words – the Meaning.
I cannot tell you how many times I have had this dialogue: me - “This needs
to be done”, other person - “I know”, me – “I don’t need you to know, I need
you to do”. It’s as if we are asleep and the understanding happens only on the
surface, after which we forget about the profound thought, or, worse, find ways
of discrediting it. Many say it’s because we are lazy, we don’t want the change,
we are afraid of it, but I think the problem is deeper.
The problem is that our thinking is primitive. If we hold a pen with its
pointed end facing us – we only see the pointed end; as soon as we turn the pen
sideways – we see a larger picture. At first, it was three millimeters of…
something we can’t recognize, only assume; and now we see it was an end of a
pen, the pen is long, it has a color, texture, etc, etc.
Sure, it is so easy to understand what Maya Angelou meant with these words “I
did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better”. It means people
make mistakes and learn as they go, and they should not feel guilty about their
inexperience, only to strive to be better persons. Sure. But this quote can be viewed from so many different sides.
Here is one of them (I will let you ponder on the rest).
When someone is rude, or insulting, or abusive, or childish,
or does any number of foolish things… if we understand that they are simply
incapable of being nicer, because they are ignorant and don’t know any better,
because they have no inner strength, wisdom and kindness to act any other way, because they are afraid –
our lives become easier. Now the mystery of “why” is solved. Now we
know why the rudeness. And we learn to be more compassionate.
This doesn’t mean that we should let them do it to us. No way. The saying “If
someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” has
continuation - “but don’t allow them to strike”. This is the crucial part
of the saying. Yes, we should be understanding, loving, kind and wise, but we
should not allow "evil" to be done to us simply because the person doing it is ignorant
and we are not. If this happens long enough – only evil will stand in the end,
all the good guys would have been slapped to death.
So, yeah… “I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better”.