San Francisco, 2009
Listen and Talk to People You Don't Agree With
If you have friends or relatives with whom you disagree about such things as the war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be painful. Practice deep listening: Listen without arguing, and try to hear what the other is really saying, remembering that, as Buddha pointed out, all beings wish to be happy and avoid suffering. A Buddhist practices nonattachment to views. If we human beings are going to stick around on this earth, we need to learn to get along not just with the people who share our views, but also, and more to the point, with the people who get our goat. And remember—we get their goat, too.
Learn Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a model developed by Marshall Rosenberg (see "Say It Right," Tricycle, Winter 2002), which fosters respect and empathy even under difficult conditions. Attend a workshop, or get a trainer to come to your group. The skills learned in NVC can be helpful in talking about the coming election with people who are undecided about whom to vote for. See the website for the Center for Nonviolent Communication: www.cnvc.org, and Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Remember, we are all related and interconnected, whether we like each other or not, present administration not excepted.
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It's funny. I have recently made a new and very dear friend and we disagree on so many fundamental things BUT we listen to each other. We respect each other. And our common ground grows.ReplyDelete
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I just left a comment on a blog post today. It's bothering me to a great degree. Because after reading her for awhile it's becoming clear that we do disagree on some fundamental things. It is tricky to be honest and yet kind with our words. I wanted to express that , especially and more so I think because she is leaning away from that practice. Or so it would seem . Regardless, I believe we need to listen . We do.
I love the Buddhist ways of seeing deeply and living deeply. I hope those commenters who disagree with you will be blessed by it, too.ReplyDelete
Ha! This was perfect timing for me. I just read Lawyer Mom!ReplyDelete
I have friends with various backgrounds and beliefs and sometimes I love that diversity, while other times I feel the urge to kick them for their "ignorance." It's hard to listen to someone as passionately for something as you are passionately against. But so important to do so.ReplyDelete
I have a friend who defines herself politically as a militant centrist. While I disagree completely with some of her stances, that term and the discussions she instigates have helped clarify for me the fact that, increasingly, my own positions on individual issues no longer conform across the board to what are regarded as liberal or conservative views --and this political incorrectness goes way beyond politics. So my perspective on the opinions of others has expanded, but not, I think, as Buddhist tolerance; I'm simply less accepting of any lock-step adherence or knee-jerk reaction. Neither is supple enough!ReplyDelete
Thank you for pointing me to this article. I needed to read it today.ReplyDelete