Ideas are just ideas. There is nothing there to defend. If you hold tightly to your ideas and to being right, you will not listen to others, no matter how much you try to convince yourself that you are. Saying that you are open-minded does not make it so.
Why do you feel that others' ideas are a threat? They too are merely ideas, someone's thoughts about reality, not reality itself.
Excuse me if I do not play your game, but there is no point. We cannot discuss ideas so long as you insist on being right and making me wrong, for you make it a battle, and I am not interested in battles.
When you are grounded in reality, in the as it isness of life, there is no need to defend your ideas. You are not threatened by others ideas because you do not give ideas a reality they do not possess. But if you make your ideas into something vitally important for your sense of self, something you feel you must defend and strengthen, then when do you actually live reality? If everything you do and say is designed to promote and defend this sense of self, then when do you touch the real self, the one from which these ideas spring?
You have wrapped yourself in a comforting web of ideas that obscure your innermost being, and you spend your whole life thinking that you are that web. Something in you knows that that is not you, but instead of looking beneath the web and finding the real you, you insist that the web is you, and you spend your whole life trying to convince yourself and others that that is true. How exhausting and how pointless.
Meanwhile, beneath the ideas about yourself, your true self waits for you to wake up. It waits for an opening in the web of ideas you have spun about you, a web so thick that it has become an armour. You mistook your ideas about yourself for yourself, and in trying to protect that idea of yourself, you have cut yourself off from your true self. That false self will always feel insecure because it is only an idea, not reality, and defending it will not make it secure. Nor will promoting it give it a reality it does not possess. In trying to make your point are you missing the real point?
What a terrible bind you have got yourself into. How painful to live your life on the surface this way. You miss the true peace and beauty of reality because you are focused on the reflection of reality, not reality itself.
How to escape this pointless charade?
There are three methods. The practice of meditation or silent prayer (both the contemplative and formless kinds), the practice of love and compassion and the practice of devotion.
Meditation works by training your mind to loosen it's grip on thoughts and emotions, thus softening, thinning and eventually wearing holes in the web of illusion. Direct methods simply cut through the web.
Practicing love and compassion breaks down your neurotic obsession with yourself and allows your true self, the part of you that is naturally loving and compassionate, to come to the fore. Instead of focusing on defending and building up yourself, you focus on others with kindness and compassion. Eventually this breaks down the separation you feel between you and others, you and the world. When you experience that oneness with everything, you are experiencing reality. Christians may call it communion with God.
Devotion is a practice of opening and merging your mind with a revered deity, saint or spiritual teacher who embodies the true nature of reality/ mind/ God, someone who is unfettered by the web of illusion, and who by being in that state themselves, can evoke that state in you. Such a being sees the true nature of self and reality rather than ideas and beliefs about them - they see the Kindgom of God - by merging your mind with theirs, you can see it too.
If you practice any, or preferably all, of these methods your posturing will eventually cease and you will escape the bind. You will cease to live life on the surface and instead find true satisfaction. Instead of leaving behind a legacy of selfishness, you will leave a legacy of kindness.
Of course these are merely ideas about reality, not reality itself, but I hope that for some of you, these words may point you towards the reality that is beyond words.
How strongly do you hold to your thoughts and beliefs?