The Position of Another

In the beginning of the work one exercise is very useful, for it helps one to see oneself, to collect material. This exercise is: entering into the position of another.

This should be undertaken as a task. To explain what I mean, let us take a simple fact. I know that you need a hundred dollars by tomorrow, but you have not got it. You try to get it and fail. You are sad. Your thoughts and feelings are occupied with this problem. In the evening you are here at the lecture. Half of you keeps thinking about the money. You are absentminded, nervous.

If I am rude to you on some other occasion you will not be as angry as you are today. Perhaps tomorrow, when you have the money, you will laugh at the same thing. If I see that you are angry, then, knowing that you are not always like that, I will try to enter into your position. I ask myself how I would act in your place if someone were rude to me.

If I ask this question often I shall soon understand that if rudeness angers or hurts another there is always some reason for it at that moment. I shall soon understand that all people are alike—that no one is always bad or always good. We are all alike. Just as I change so does another. If you realize this and remember it, if you think and do your task at the right time, you will see many new things in yourself and your surroundings, things you have not seen before.

This is the first step.

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