A recent article about a Christian university creating a prayer room for Muslims caught my attention. It reminded me that we seem to be living in a world where in order to stand up for a particular set of beliefs you have to actively oppose someone else’s. It seems that the loudest voices in the room are winning these days, and as is so often true in life, the loudest voices tend to be the ones who are screaming.
There’s a concept I love in Scientology that describes three “universes” or the space one operates in and the lens through which one sees the world: there is your own universe, the other person’s universe, and then the universe you both share. I love this idea for many reasons but mainly because it allows every individual to be infinitely “right.” Whatever goes on in your personal universe is what is true for you. The god or gods you believe in (or lack thereof), your personal sense of right and wrong, good and bad—all of it is solely what you deem true for yourself. And the same is true for every other person.
Rather than using the third universe—the one we all share—to dominate others and impose our own sense of what is true and correct, what if we chose instead to use it as a neutral, sacred space where we meet and exchange ideas and viewpoints with dignity, respect and generosity? We, each of us, will always have our own universe to call home. We can always go there to rest and rejuvenate, to revel in the truths we hold most dear, until we have the energy and humility and grace to venture out into that shared space once again.
The students and faculty at the university mentioned in the article are operating with a level of wisdom and generosity of spirit sorely lacking in our popular discourse. I can only hope that the pendulum will swing back and that brave individuals like these will guide it in that more positive, prosperous direction.