Respect is a universal and fundamental principle. It can be applied to all life situations and purposes.
Respect is the recognition of the world as it is. This recognition, in turn, provides the foundation, the solid ground for all the further good actions. It is a kind of starting point. If we respect something, we acknowledge its right to exist. This is the beginning of a dialogue, a state of openness.
If we respect our interlocutor, we acknowledge their existence, their point of view and their vision of the world. We may disagree with them, but we acknowledge their existence as our own. Therefore, we are open and have space for dialogue, discussion and non-violent exchange, as well as the adjustment of our own opinions.
If we respect our body, we acknowledge its existence and its needs. We do not try to run away, ignore or tamper with them.
We work with those needs.
Respect is the cure for anger, aggression, jealousy and greed. We will not attack, steal, destroy or deceive what we respect. Instead, we will help or at least not hinder development.
Even when faced with the need to change or destroy something, respect allows us to do so without aggression, minimising pain and suffering.
Respect requires awareness and presence. But respect itself leads us to awareness and presence because it requires not only a high degree of concentration and seeing reality as it is, but also appropriate behaviour. You can’t respect only in words without confirming it with actions.
Whether we are following a spiritual path or just want to improve our lives, developing a quality of respect for everything we deal with is one of the most effective and efficient tools in life.(28)