Black or White?

We begin to learn wisely when we are willing to see the world from other people’s perspective – Toba Beta

When I was in elementary school, I got into a major argument with a boy in my class. I have forgotten what the argument was about, but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned that day.

I was convinced that “I” was right and “he” was wrong – and he was just as convinced that “I” was wrong and “he” was right. The teacher decided to teach us a very important lesson.

She brought us up to the front of the class and placed him on one side of her desk and me on the other. In the middle of her desk was a large, round object. I could clearly see that it was black. She asked the boy what color the object was. “White,” he answered.

I couldn’t believe he said the object was white, when it was obviously black! Another argument started between my classmate and me, this time about the color of the object.

The teacher told me to go stand where the boy was standing and told him to come stand where I had been. We changed places, and now she asked me what the color of the object was. I had to answer, “White.”

It was an object with two differently colored sides, and from his viewpoint it was white. Only from my side it was black.

At times it’s easy to believe we are right, or think we know more than someone else, but when we learn to stand with compassion on the same side of the person we disagree with, we will see life from their perspective, and we may just find we were wrong.

42 thoughts on “Black or White?

  1. At times it’s easy to believe we are right, or think we know more than someone else, but when we learn to stand with compassion on the same side of the person we disagree with, we will see life from their perspective, and we may just find we were wrong.

    Love that summary Karen! ❤
    Diana xo

  2. It is so interesting to me how everyone’s reality is different, and we need to walk in their shoes for a mile or so to see it. Several people can be present for the same event and see it completely differently, which is why witnesses to car accidents give terrible testimony in court. They all remember the same event differently, ie the colors of the cars, which way they were going etc. So many studies have been done around this and it just fascinates me.

    One time a friend of mine and I were watching a show that we had recorded. I thought one of the characters said “you are the most important thing in my life.” She thought the character said, “you are one of the most important things in my life.” Well, how often do you have the opportunity to rewind and hear it over? We played it over about 10 times, and neither of us could hear it the way the other did. Isn’t that weird? So we had to accept that neither was right or wrong. Just different realities and that’s ok. There doesn’t have to be a right or wrong.

    I love the lesson that this teacher was wise enough to portray. I wish all teachers were that wise. Maybe if they were, more people would be as compassionate and understanding as you!

    Wonderful post. Thank you.


    1. Your story is great Mary and reflects what we can hear and see from a different perspective. You are right, there doesn’t have to be a wrong or right and the more we engage in our ego and mind, the more we lose sight of what is important. You are always very kind, thankyou and blessings.

  3. Instinctively, we find greater value in the words and perspectives we speak and feel leading to an inability to LISTEN and HEAR the words and perspectives of others. We feel it is our responsibility to change the thinking of those sharing opposing views. In truth, we become more complete individuals by learning to understand the world around us and where our perspectives fit in to this greater universe.

    1. Yes more listening and less speaking! could solve many problems in the world Jonathan. You make a very good point. Opening our hearts and minds to those around us creates peace. Thankyou

  4. As well you know, dear Karen, it is only the thought itself (and its inherent identification with our self-entity) that believes it is correct . . . Once mind sees this is so, it becomes natural for attachments to perspectives to diminish, for us to no longer identify egoically with what are merely opinions floating freely within the cranial cavity. We may express any opinion, and yet see it relativistically, as an idea that more or less only, corresponds to actuality.

    1. So true Hariod. Life is so much easier when we see beyond our story and self-entity. I like your description, “Merely opinions floating freely within the cranial cavity” A wonderful thought.

  5. Yes, we need to examine things from other perspectives. And even then if we disagree, we cannot shame them for their views, but simply walk away and follow our heart by living in harmony with the universe. Hopefully, even when we know things are steadfastly wrong (like taking another life) we can live by example and not by shaming.

    1. Beautifully said. So many relationships are broken because of the need to be right and judged and within that space, they lose essential love and a connection to the whole. We are all responsible for this. Thankyou.

    1. Yes I agree, and each situation is different Eliza. Sometimes it’s about accepting others and their point of view, even if it is not the truth. I guess it’s knowing when to take a stand and knowing when to listen. It’s all a balance.

    1. Oh it wasn’t my teacher Lorrie, it was just an inspiring story I wanted to share! It is a wonderful lesson that I continue to learn throughout my life. Happy New Year and I wish you many blessings and peace.

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