“Self truth builds greater trust and brings new possibilities. We don’t have to agree on everything. As a matter of fact there is only one thing that we have to agree on, and that is that all viewpoints are valid and therefore to be respected. This truth builds bridges. The Apache word for this - dasha’ - speaks of an understanding where there is no reasonable proof. It is a believing that allows for connection and spontaneity. It allows us to be who we are.”
- Maria Yraceburu
This is a very important concept. In our wide world there are still many things that elude complete human understanding. In these instances it’s important to understand that the conceptual models we have for them are a result of a consensus of opinion. In Buddhism, some traditions will talk of consensual reality. This is the one that we live in day to day and is usually a product of our culture’s history of ideas along with our daily experiences, and the interaction between the two.
We create a problem if we take consensual reality as being the ultimate truth. Don’t get me wrong, we need it in order to exist within society. But if we harden consensual reality into something that is absolute, then we are closing down whole aspects of life that may be of benefit to us. For example, mystics throughout the ages have brought us accounts of what are often startlingly similar experiences – a different way of perceiving our existence. If we fail to include these in our consensual reality then I believe that we are closing ourselves to an important part of human experience.
This applies when we are faced with someone whose viewpoint about life differs from our own, especially if that viewpoint has a broader expanse than our own. Consensual reality should always be open to exploring viewpoints different to its own. This is how change happens - in society, in consciousness and in the individual. A very real example of this can be seen in both the feminist and civil rights movements – where the consensual reality of a society was gradually expanded in terms of its definitions of who should have human rights.
The flip side of course is the question that if you accept all viewpoints as valid then don’t you just vanish into complete relativism? Which is a really important question. For myself, experience is the proving ground where we test our models of reality. But at the end of the day we really can’t tell. Sometimes great change can come because an individual or a small group maintained their version of the world that was different to the general consensus.
All of which is to say that this is why I love the word dasha’. It speaks to me of a humility in human experience. To remember that we don’t know everything about our wild, vast and wonderful world. And it calls us into dialogue. With respectful listening to one another’s viewpoints we can enhance our understanding of those things which elude us – which is, after all, how evolution in consciousness happens.
Photo Credit: Mystery River from the Flickr page of Matthias Ripp.
Steven Dances the Dream