“Tolerance is allowing the heart, the fourth chakra, to remain open in the presence of the unusual. Intolerance is closing the heart in the presence of the unusual.
Even if you have not yet spent much time paying attention to your heart, you may feel your response to another as a tightening or relaxing in your chest. When presented with behavior or appearance which varies from that with which you are familiar, you are facing a challenge in your heart. If you allow it to remain open, although the other person differs from you, your life will be enhanced. You will not have suffered the loss of energy and pleasure that accompanies tightening in the presence of difference.
As deviation from the mean is an unvarying principle of nature, you are certain to face peculiarity in others with frequency. To close your heart when in the presence of unusual appearance or behavior is to damn yourself to a life with a closed heart.
We live in a world populated by people who are not exactly like us. Keeping our heart open in their presence makes us happier and healthier; closing our hearts brings impoverishment to all.
Certainly, tolerance is one of the essential traits in a successful marriage or relationship. All spouses differ from each other and many are not only intolerant of those differences, but engage in frequent battle about them. If a spouse practices seeing the other’s differences without closing his or her heart, without tightening against the differences, the marriage or relationship will improve.
To become more tolerant can not be done intellectually. One must make a commitment to open one’s heart, to stay soft in the face of novelty.”
-From To Be Healed by the Earth