How to Love the World as It Is
So let’s say that you’d like to try this world-view. You’d like to love people, and the entire world, as it is, and not as you’d like it to be. How do you go about doing that?
There are six things I recommend doing:
1. Stop looking for perfection and ideals. Realize that you have an ideal in your head, and that it is probably incompatible with the world. It might be an ideal about a person, or about how things should be. The world, and people, are not perfect. Stop looking for perfection, and realize that it is already here.
2. Observe. Instead of looking at this ideal picture in your head, look at what’s really there. What is the world really like? What are people really like? The only way to know this is to observe. Listen to people. Look at the world around you. Gather data, from reality.
3. Understand. Now that you have this data, start asking questions. Why are people the way they are? Why did someone do what they did? Why does this problem really exist? Don’t stop at the first answers you come up with — dig deeper, and deeper, until you really understand something. Seek to understand before you judge, in all situations. Sometimes that will require imagination — you won’t be able to really know the root of something unless you personally investigate everything, but instead sometimes you can try to imagine what made a person the way they are, or a situation what it is.
“To understand everything is to forgive everything.” - Buddha
4. Accept. Once you’ve observed and begun to understand, accept that this is the way the world is. This is who the person is. The world isn’t going to meet any ideal — it is what it is, and while it will always change, it probably won’t change to meet your ideal. The person in question is exactly the same — they won’t meet your ideal, but are who they are. Accept this as fact.
5. Love and compassion. Once you’ve accepted things or people as they are … try to find it in your heart to love them, as they are. The way to do this is to see the good in everything and everyone, and if you’ve sought to really look and understand, you will find good in everything. When you see bad things, understand that this is because of suffering, and have compassion and seek to end that suffering.
6. Enjoy life. The world is a wonderful place once you’ve accepted it for what it is and sought to love it. People are wonderful creatures, full of life and creativity and messiness and uniqueness. Accept this, understand it, love it. And enjoy this gift we’ve been given, for it is incredible. And perfect, just as it is.
“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.” - Buddha
I think it's a lovely little reality check - I find myself so easy getting caught up in ideals that are not even necessarily my own, and constantly comparing it all.
It doesn't do anyone any good.