It was like many conversations I have been in in my life. We were talking about Russia invading Ukraine and the role of the United States in the whole affair. Opinions were flying around the table at a rapid pace, certainty rising with each pronouncement. Then I had what can only be described as an out of body experience. I rose above the table and saw the whole thing, myself included, as if from above. Everyone’s hearts and minds were naked, our souls laid bare. Primal parts of us were clawing for significance, imagining that the more clever and articulate our opinions, the more powerful we were. But beneath the words and arguments, we were all the same; a little hurt, a little proud, a little defensive. And all desperately wanting to be accepted.
I find myself often stepping back from conversations now and thinking, “No one here really has the whole story. Everyone has a piece, and the piece is preventing us from seeing the whole thing.”
It’s ironic really. We spend so much giving each other a piece of our mind when what would really break through would be the peace of mind that comes with knowing that it’s okay not to know. More listening. More open ended questions. More genuine interest in new perspective. We should end more sentences as questions, the raised tone that signals a question also triggering a raised consciousness. The psychology behind our opinions and communication is every bit as complicated as the conflict in Ukraine.
One of my favorite philosophers, Ken Wilber, says
I have one major rule: everybody is right. No human mind can be 100% wrong. Or, we might say, nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of the truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.
He does have one exception to this rule. Anyone who thinks they have the only truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is wrong.
We all have different opinions and perspectives. We all have different ways of seeing the world. We all have different experiences, prejudices, blind spots and memories. I doubt there is or ever has been a person self aware enough to understand their own unique blend of perspectives.It doesn’t mean you can’t have strong convictions, and express them. Just do it with some humility and openness.
Because beyond opinion, beyond perspectives, beyond right and wrong, there’s a place where we all connect. We all want acceptance and we all crave more love.
Love builds bridges, it creates connections, and cultivates understanding.
The poet Rumi described it like this-
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
Maybe Rumi came close to having the self awareness to know the different between right, wrong and love.
Take conversations like the one about Russia and Ukraine to Rumi’s field, and apply love to all involved. See everyone involved as having a story and valid perspectives, and listen with love.
Here is a short meditation we put together for our Soulseeds Garden, that combines images from Ukraine with a powerful song by Mike Himebaugh called Why Not Let Love.