I recently spent a week driving on the left hand side of the road in Ireland and England. I have to admit I was a little nervous about it. Not only do you have to overcome your years of conditioning to stay to the right on the road, you sit behind the wheel on the left hand side, your gearshift is on the right and all of your mirrors are at different angles. I’m happy to say that all went well — after a short transition period I felt very comfortable.
As I talked to friends of mine about the experience, I find it funny that Americans unconsciously refer to driving on the left hand side as “driving on the wrong side of the road”. Most people who say that aren’t even aware they are using the word “wrong”. Of course, intellectually we know that driving on the left is simply different from driving on the right — there is no right or wrong way.
It is interesting to note that the opposite of the word “right” can be either “left” or “wrong” depending upon connotation. It’s also interesting to note that some people tend to lump “rightness” as meaning “correctness” without allowing the possibility for other alternatives. Ask a left-handed person and many will tell you that they faced some pressure as a child to become right-handed.
This experience highlighted for me how well conditioned we are to accept things as right simply because they are the way we do them. We never stop to consider that alternatives are just as valid. If we are truly growing and moving forward on our evolutionary path, then we need to push ourselves into questioning our assumptions about right and wrong. Yes, there are certain ethical decisions that most of us would agree are either right or wrong. Beyond that, we need to be open to seeing alternative approaches to life as simply different without judgment.
I loved the variety of expressing life that I experienced in my travels. Whereas Americans point towards an “exit”, the French say “sortie” and the English say “way out”. That variety of expression is wonderful. It shows that humanity is joyously playing with multiple approaches while underneath we remain one people.
Where are your assumptions about “rightness” where you’ve never considered alternatives that may be just as valid? Opening yourself to the glorious multiplicity of options of expressing life while maintaining an inner awareness that we are all one is part of our evolutionary journey.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!