Argument is a waste of energy. The need to convince others only reveals the fragility of our own beliefs and positions. We live in an ultra-argumentative culture, yet all of this ranting changes nothing. No one is convinced yet we shout all the louder, blame all the more, and widen the gulf into which humanity is likely to plummet.
This process goes on inside of my head. In the past few years I have withdrawn from the external haranguing and arguing of social media and other media, but the process of argument has already been conditioned in my neural pathways and continues to diminish my contentment and clarity. It is as if I must always be preparing to defend my beliefs in a convincing manner, so the process of “what about…” goes on in my head. Some would say that this is a natural way of “refining” one’s position so it can be more clearly stated. I’m not so sure. Refining my position is not a priority for me. Becoming clear, quiet, and centered in my experience is my priority. From that clarity and quiet my words and actions emerge with natural power – not to convince but merely to express my natural compassion.
I have often mentioned the advice my early Zen teacher gave: “Bill, from your center do and say whatever arises as true and compassionate. But… always refrain from blaming anyone, recruiting anyone, or arguing with anyone. Simply do. Those who are ready to connect will see and hear.”