In response to the belief that we should love everyone, Katie (Loving What Is) says, "You're not supposed to love others — not until you do." This simple observation is incredibly powerful. Or, so it seems to me.
I am about to suggest something of what I think it means, but if you're truly interested to know, you could not do better than to simply contemplate on it yourself.
It speaks to the perspective that there are no conditions to our absolute acceptability. All reality is Reality, "what is", and therefore, everything is acceptable. This is an extremely difficult position to take; it requires a movement outside the sphere of right and wrong, and that, for some unfathomable reason, is something that the mind refuses to do. Is it because we are such moral beings? Or is it because we are fragmented beings — ever not at home in who we are or in the world as it is? (Katie similarly responds to the inevitable question about war and murder and the like: ". . . if I believe they shouldn't exist, I suffer. They exist until they don't. . . . Sanity doesn't suffer, ever.") Clearly, there is no end to shoulds; neither we nor the world will ever arrive at the imagined perfection that should requires.
Should and Is stand opposed to each other, and if there is to be peace, that opposition needs to be resolved. The way of Daoism is to affirm reality just as it appears to us; in embracing "is", we become that peace that must necessarily elude us as long as we strive to achieve it. Should becomes is. The peace that we wish for the world begins with the peace that we are.
Guo Xiang, commenting on the Zhuangzi, writes: ". . . every being without exception is released into the range of its own spontaneous attainments, so that each being relies on its own innate character, each deed exactly matching its own capabilities. Since each fits perfectly into precisely the position it occupies, all are equally far-reaching and unfettered." (Ziporyn; my italics) The perfect fit does not happen when we become better; it happens when we accept who we are — and that can only make us "better".
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