Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is it possible to respect someone being disrespectful?

This is a question that comes from my friend's Facebook post. It is so easy to judge others, especially when they seem so ignorant and disrespectful. But as Steve, the Sundance Chief explains, it is of utmost importance to respect others. It is how we become better people. 

I was just in a sweat a week ago, and the Saltcreek Sundance Chief/Medicine man talked a bit about what it means to have respect for others. He said, all people, animals, plants and the earth should be shown respect. This is how we create a more beautiful and sacred world. And also how we grow as individuals.

He said, if you look at the word respect, it doesn't necessarily mean to honor or hold in high esteem. It also means to look at attentively, observe closely, or show differential regard for. So to respect something/someone, you first need to pay attention to it, acknowledge it for what it really is. With pure mind, you do not need to judge. Instead you see it for what it is.

Each and every person in this world deserves respect. You may not hold them or their actions in high esteem. But, as I see it, you respect that they are a fellow human being on this earth, who has lived a certain life with certain life experiences which made them who they are today. You respect that they live by certain rules and a moral code that they deem important and appropriate for them. Yes, they may be misguided, and act disrespectfully, but that is their choice, and perhaps they didn't have as great as karma/teachers/experiences to teach them otherwise.

The Chief talked about respecting his ancestors, and appreciating the lives they lived, and the medicine, the teachings they gave us, and "native ways" that they passed down. But that many of their actions he doesn't hold in high esteem. He has learned from his ancestors mistakes, and vows never to repeat their mistakes. He gives them utmost regard in his daily life, and shows so much respect for his ancestors because he knows what the full meaning of what paying respect means. 

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