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Tolerance & Discernment


"The test of courage comes when we are in the minority.

The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority." ~ Ralph Sockman "Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs.

Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." ~ John F. Kennedy

In the 90’s I worked at MIT in Cambridge. I coached rowing and worked on various projects in HR and at the Sloan Business School. One of my endeavors was guiding a weekly seminar for Freshman entitled Achieving Peak Performance. I brought together lessons learned from high performing athletes, theater, music, and fine artists, along with mindfulness and game theory practices, to empower young adults with insights and skills to help navigate challenging academic and work environments. While these skills remain very helpful, I feel today I would retitle the seminar, Tolerance & Discernment. I would teach similar skills, and perhaps look to familiar mentors, but the world has changed much in 25 years, and perhaps the intention of these insights might evolve too. The main differences I see are the pace of change, and thus the intensity of the challenges, and the proliferation of multi-media and misinformation (remember, there were no smart phones way back then)! Tolerance, by which I mean true compassion not just putting-up-with, is essential for coping with change. We need patience and compassion with ourselves, with uncertainty, with not knowing, and with others, seeing and understanding other perspectives; we’re all trying to manage an increasingly complex and challenging world. Cultivating mindfulness, stillness, insight and clarity, leads to honest discernment, the ability to see what is real and hence false. Almost everything delivered comes to us with an agenda, an intention for us to see the world through another’s perspective and values. This is not all bad, it is how our communication has evolved to garner cooperation, but we’ve also learned to more effectively manipulate, to use language and images to coerce and control. The ability to discern what is true from false or misleading is increasingly essential as diverse information continues to grow. Our yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices are here to support us in our journey through challenging times. Love & Peace Always, Greg

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