This article about the Scientology religion and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard was originally published on standleague.org and has also been republished on patheos.com.

A new girl shows up at high school. She is shy, awkward, friendless—a perfect target for the “tough girls” in the class. Every day they corner her, bullying her, tearing her clothes, calling her names until she runs off in tears.

Twelve years pass. The bullied girl has since graduated high school and college and has been introduced to Scientology where she trains as a minister and becomes an auditor, one who is empowered to help others achieve relief from the heartaches and hardships that go along with living. One day a familiar face shows up in her church: the leader of the gang who abused her so mercilessly in high school. She recognizes her but the woman coming for help does not, in her turn, recognize the girl she bullied so long ago. All she sees is the dark cavernous pit into which her own life has fallen. Two failed marriages—one with a violent, abusive spouse—a disastrous bout with drugs, and a brush with law enforcement over a stolen dress in a department store.

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“I’m no good,” the woman begins in her first session of counseling. “I’ve done so many bad things in my life that I deserve everything I get.” She discusses, among many things, how she bullied a poor girl in school with no provocation. As she speaks, the other woman—the auditor who had been that little girl—listens calmly without a hint of judgment or blame. At length, with her help, the woman experiences relief and accompanying hope. She looks at the auditor who helped her emerge from the shadows, recognizing her at last. “It’s you!” she cries.

You know the rest of the story. How the two then became friends and how the former bully then became a Scientology auditor herself—to help free others from the grip of their painful past.

The story could have easily had a different ending. The girl who had been bullied would have been well within her rights, one would think, to have given the woman a stern talking-to and cast her back out to deal with her demons. But she did not, thanks to a special gift proffered by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, the gift of granting beingness—allowing someone to be who he or she is. A central tenet that makes help effective from Scientologists or anyone with a generous heart is the granting of beingness. Mr. Hubbard explains: “You are here, you are alive. When you were small, you granted beingness to your dog, your wagon—in other words you brought this to life… These things came alive. And to this day you grant beingness to a car, a favorite book, possessions… One is alive to the degree that individuals have granted him beingness, and that he has granted others beingness.”

The Auditor’s Code, an ethical code every auditor promises to uphold, includes a pledge to grant beingness to the person he or she is helping. That means no judgment, no subtly telegraphed disapproval, no slightly raised eyebrow, no questioning “Oh?” One simply continues to grant the person beingness and life—for, without that, change and healing are impossible.

The granting of beingness is no enormous rarity. You’ve experienced it both on the giving and receiving end. A child confesses something to you and, instead of blowing your stack, you listen and try to understand.

Imagine granting beingness to that person who cut you off on the freeway the other day. Imagine that person granting you beingness. Imagine Democrats granting beingness to Republicans and vice versa. In the field of sports, imagine a Yankees fan granting beingness to a Mets fan, allowing that fan to be more alive, putting more life there instead of taking it away. The Mets fan would likely respond in kind by putting more life into the Yankees fan. Yes, miracles CAN happen with the granting of beingness. The granting of life to another opens the door to understanding and makes the twin curses of bigotry and exclusion impossible.

Mr. Hubbard wrote, “Exclusion of others is the basic cause of war and insanity.”

Inclusion and the granting of beingness, of life, are the carrier wave of Mr. Hubbard’s legacy of respect and human rights. Everyone has the right to help and be helped. Only when no one is barred or beaten or otherwise left out due to the color of their skin or the tenor of their beliefs or where they call home can we survive this planet.

Think of someone you always remember warmly. That person granted you beingness, allowed you to be who you are, and made you more alive in the process. That is the greatest gift a person can give. And it’s the gift Mr. Hubbard gave us that we remember as Churches of Scientology around the globe observe his birthday: the gift of making ourselves and each other better, and more alive.