As we gain freedom from our own moods, we are enabled to respect those of others and give up any endeavor to force a friend out of his moods, or even to lead him out, unless he shows a desire to be led. Nor do we rejoice fully in the extreme of his happy moods, knowing the certain reaction.
Respect for the moods of others is necessary to a perfect freedom from our own. In one sense no man is alone in the world; in another sense every man is alone; and with moods especially, a man must be left to work out his own salvation, unless he asks for help. So, as he understands his moods, and frees himself from their mastery, he will find that moods are in reality one of Nature’s gifts, a sort of melody which strengthens the harmony of life and gives it fuller tone.
Freedom from moods does not mean the loss of them, any more than non-resistance means allowing them to master you. It is non-resistance, with the full recognition of what they are, that clears the way.
When we are tolerant as a matter of course, the nervous system is relieved of almost the worst form of persistent irritation it could have.
The freedom of tolerance can only be appreciated by those who have known the suffering of intolerance and gained relief.
A certain perspective is necessary to a recognition of the full absurdity of intolerance. One of the greatest absurdities of it is evident when we are annoyed and caused intense suffering by our intolerance of others, and, as a consequence, blame others for the fatigue or illness which follows. However mistaken or blind other people may be in their habits or their ideas, it is entirely our fault if we are annoyed by them. The slightest blame given to another in such a case, on account of our suffering, is quite out of place.
Our intolerance is often unconscious. It is disguised under one form of annoyance or another, but when looked full in the face, it can only be recognized as intolerance.
Of course, the most severe form is when the belief, the action, or habit of another interferes directly with our own selfish aims. That brings the double annoyance of being thwarted and of rousing more selfish antagonism.
Where our selfish desires are directly interfered with, or even where an action which we know to be entirely right is prevented, intolerance only makes matters worse. If expressed, it probably rouses bitter feelings in another. Whether we express it openly or not, it keeps us in a state of nervous irritation which is often most painful in its results. Such irritation, if not extreme in its effect, is strong enough to keep any amount of pure enjoyment out of life.
There may be some one who rouses our intolerant feelings, and who may have many good points which might give us real pleasure and profit; but they all go for nothing before our blind, restless intolerance.