Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 9

A friend and I decided earlier this week that an evening at the park was in order and since we both work a lot, it had to be a Friday --this Friday. We tried to get a group organized, but with limited time and monsoon season bearing down on us for the next month, we only managed to snag a few. Once there, we set out ground mat, kicked the shoes off and pulled out the tunes. Since I usually bring the speakers and mp3 player, I typically assume the role of DJ and today was no different.

Starting in high school and for years after that, I pretty much chose my friends based on the music they listened to. I most definitely wasn’t alone on that one. Everyone chose their friends based on some absurd criterion. For some people it was sports or academia, but I found that music filtered people the best for me. As I have gotten older, I’ve realized that I can’t actually do that anymore. In fact, even if I wanted to, I think it would be impossible because the tunes that I listen to are not as appreciated as they used to be. I'd be pretty lonely.

What do I listen to? Hard to say, but if I were to shuffle through ten random artists on my Ipod right now, I would land on Thompson Twins, Climax Blues Band, Cat Stevens, Richard Marx, Marvin Gaye, Donovan, Sam Cooke, Phish, Harry Nilsson and Jim Croce. Nearly all of them were popular before I was born and it’s pretty safe to say that none of them are doing that well today (if they're not dead already). Sure, many people might still listen to them, but most people my age have moved well beyond them. What I find curious is why can’t won’t I move beyond them? Why do I still prefer listening to Erasure rather than the Black Eyed Peas? It’s simple and people do the same thing with religion. I don’t want to even give new music a chance because I believe that what I like is the best and nothing else is ever going to come along and beat it.
To be Anekäntvädi: 1) Do not insist on your own approach, 2) Accept partial truth as expressed by others, 3) Accept the truth even if it is expressed by adversaries, 4) Accept that the truth can consist of seemingly opposing views, 5) Develop a strong urge to seek truth, 6) Believe in possibilities and 7) Exercise equanimity towards all.
Not insisting on my own approach is Jain talk for "stop being stubborn and open your mind".  I can admit that I am a huge music snob and perhaps I should be more open minded, but what this is really touching on is that there is no way for me to be certain of anything. My music, my opinions, my ideas and my religion are not necessarily correct, but to me this isn't about being open-minded. It's about giving myself the freedom and permission to abandon things that I have always done or known to be right.

For those of you who attend a house of worship or have faith in a certain: Has your religion, denomination, church or organization ever given you reason to leave yet you decided against it with an excuse like, "It's what I know" or "What would the neighbors think?" I have rationalized doing things that I disagree with many times simply because it's much easier than taking a stand. It's hard to free yourself from the self-imposed shackles we've managed to force upon ourselves and our society. 

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