How can that be? you ask. Oh, so easily. It's the old familiar elephant story all over again: three blind men are asked to describe an elephant. One feels the tail and says an elephant is like a rope. Another feels the side of the elephant and says it is like a flat wall. The third feels the trunk and says an elephant is like a firehose.
They are all right, as far as they can see. And so it is with all beings everywhere: Almost all of us see through a cloudy or disfigured lens, and what we see necessarily informs our convictions. The broader our vision, the more wide-angle our lens, the closer we move into authentic Seeing. The narrower our vision, the more our lens is tinted by history and belief, the more tinted our perceptions. We are right from our point of view, until our lens shifts and alters our seeing.
This is why all mistaken perceptions are forgivable. We see as far as we can see at any given point in time. The instant we are able to see further, we see further. It is Silence that brushes clutter from our Seeing, and it slowly, subtly does its work on each one of us. Until then, we observe life from our partial sightings. earnest in our mistaken sense of accuracy. And of course we continue to think the guy who says elephants are like walls is nuts. He, for his part, continues to think we, who say elephants are like ropes, are nuts.
The spiritual teacher simply smiles, nods, and says: "You're both right. You're both wrong."
In the meantime, be gentle with another person's lens. It will clear up one day -without warning- and both you and everyone you know will be able to See the total elephant in all its radiance, peanuts and all.