In the spiritual path you’ll surely experience the most paradoxical of sensations: intolerance of intolerance to tolerance. Let us unpack this in a practical example; suppose a neighbor rings your bell to request you to sign a petition to kick out a Korean neighbor because he occasionally procures dog meat, then cooks it and eats it at home. You personally find the concept disgusting, but you wouldn’t prevent anybody from doing it, so you refuse to sign the petition.

The neighbor turns his ire towards you, if you are not with him you are against him. “So you support people eating dog meat!”. No, you might explain, I don’t like that people eat dogs, but I don’t think people ought to be banished because I dislike what they do. And here often people will become confused, because even though you express agreement in principle you express consequential disagreement. So in the black and white thinking they place you on the opposing side, marking you as an enemy.

And there lies the ultimate trap: if you only tolerate your dog-eating neighbor and not your crusader neighbor, he pushes you into the duality of a war which is not yours. He will make you pick sides, and you will be fighting for tolerance though everybody will perceive you as defending dog-eaters.

If tolerance ought to be a universal principle, it should be respected even when it comes to intolerant people. “I appreciate neighbors who eat dogs as much as neighbors who knock my door to banish neighbors who eat dogs”, you might say. Refuse to take part in conflict.

One must keep in mind, however, that deep intuition overrides all principles, and if the world calls you into action you ought to take heed of the call. When you are in touch with your deeper self, the call is unmistakable.

Weapons are instruments of fear;
they are not a wise person’s tools.
They use them only when they have no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to their heart,
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.

—Chapter 31 of the Tao Te Ching