It’s statistically impossible that I’m right on everything that I think. I’m wrong on a bunch of stuff and the only way I’m going to figure that out is by surrounding myself with and having loving conversations where I listen to people with whom I disagree. That’s something that’s really changed a lot.
I’m a lot less defensive about my views and I’m a lot less attached to my views.
I was writing the obituary for Thich Nhat Hanh, the great Vietnamese Buddhist monk, in the Washington Post. And I remember thinking about this really important idea that he had, which is our greatest attachment tends to be to our opinions. We clutch on them as if they were jewels. It’s almost as if you had a right to kill somebody in self-defense if they contradict you. That’s certainly true on college campuses. That’s certainly true in the 5 percent political fringes on the right and left in America.
And as I was writing his obituary, I asked myself, “What is my attachment to my own political views?” So I’m on my reverse bucket list, which I put together on my birthday. This last year, I listed half of my political opinions and I crossed them out. Not because I don’t hold them, but because I’m not going to be attached to them. If you disagree with me, come sit down next to me because I want to hear what you have to say. And you probably are going to make some pretty good points.