I recently hired a local owner-operated moving business to help me move. I knew the gentleman from his previous work, and we got to know one another reasonably well. The business owner and I have radically different philosophies about religion, politics, and other hot-button topics. Nevertheless, we can communicate in a way that leads to respectful and open dialogue, despite our vast philosophical differences. We even reached common ground, and a new idea emerged that we had not previously considered.
Usually, when people have opposite positions, they seldom, if ever, reach a common ground. But the business owner and I did. One may ask, "How did that happen?" Or better yet, in a society that is experiencing lots of division, "How can we transcend barriers to reach a mutual understanding?"
The answer lies in engaging in real human communication. Authentic communication can be transformative both for the speaker and the listener. For such communication to happen, people or different groups must listen to each other. There is often more confusion, frustration, inclination toward aggression, and even violence without deep listening, instead of mutual understanding and trust.
Authentic communication is the by-product of actual dialogue. When there is dialogue, we can discover common ground between the parties. The Latin root of communication is to "make something common." When there is genuine communication and listening, the parties open themselves up to seeing something new that relates to their perspective and the other person's point of view. And as the communication continues, a new idea can emerge that serves as a bridge between the parties.
That bridge, and creating something new and common ground between the parties, can only happen if the people involved engage in deep listening, do their best to set aside their preconceived opinions, and seek not to impose their views on one another. Only then can a new idea and common ground be reached. To get to that common ground, we have to go through the discomfort of changing our minds. As the legendary physicist David Bohm notes, there must be a willingness "in which no one permanently holds to or otherwise defends his own ideas."
Releasing such holds is not easy. We nearly all have rooted in us assumptions about life - religion, economics, and politics - that are nothing more than opinions. We hold onto those opinions to avoid dealing with uncertainty. However, creativity can flourish from the ambiguity, and new ideas emerge. When we can capture a new idea, everyone can benefit. New ideas are free to express and blossom when we cease trying to convince someone else we're right and they're wrong, and one person wins, and the other person loses.
In genuine communication in which new ideas appear, everyone wins. We aren't trying to impose a particular viewpoint on another group or participate in a win-lose game. Instead, we are co-creating with Spirit and playing a game with one another. When we do that, we are coming from a place of oneness, everyone wins, and we create genuine harmony in our world.
Peace and Blessings,