Still listening

“There is a place out beyond the fields of rightdoing and wrongdoing. I will meet you there”

This talk goes along with with my reading of the Righteous Mind, and 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life as well the recent talk on listening. It encourages listeners to take the time to listen to (more specifically share a meal with) "the other" - those who we see as stark moral opposites. We live in sharply divided times and we have allowed our society to be split into different political/ideological teams. We have created walls, and demonized each other when this isn't really necessary or productive. It lends itself to arguing and division. This process of understand others is an exercising in withholding that judgment and seeking common ground. Below are some guideline she lays out.

  • Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt
  • Be curious
  • Be conversational
  • Be real
  • Listen
  • Share some of your life experiences
  • What issues deeply concern you
  • What have you always wanted to ask someone from the “other side”

It's also generally good advice for understanding other people. One of my favorite things about the UU Compassion class was that we were required to have lunch with one other person each month. I learned so much from those meetings. We avoided politics and talked about our fears as friends.

Thinking about this makes me want to quit watching the news, to quit reading Facebook. I am just arming myself with talking points for "my team" and find myself getting irritated when people post inflammatory comments. It's not a good platform for building friendships.
In any case, I tend to be too antagonistic and her ground rules are a good start to "domesticate" my speech.