I originally published this at Into the Bardo.
Sometimes I think that we all need universal translators when we are trying to understand each other across cultures, belief systems, and personal social locations-to go where we have not gone before.
Often, though, it takes someone yelling at us to knock us out of our system of thinking and gives us the ability to see things in a new and visionary way that connects rather than divides. All too often we cannot get to this point because we walk away when we things are uncomfortable, challenging, or abrasive.
And no doubt, abrasive is yucky. Witness: the US government interactions right now.
What to do?
Enter deeply into the story of the other person. This is a spiritual practice. I call it Extreme Accompaniment (should I trademark that?). I was contemplating this further today as I was researching another article. My reading revealed to me that we get to radical acceptance of the other when:
- Everyone goes to uncomfortable places
- Step outside of social norms, forget what you think you know about the other
- Everyone involved becomes open to conversion
- Keep dialoguing past the rhetoric and abrasiveness
- Then, transformation and acceptance may occur (Congress, are you listening??)
Of course, there are limitations. You should not be in situations that may cause harm. But I am more and more convinced that this deep listening is a spiritual practice. And it is a practice that our world does not do well right now. It is up to the artists and the contemplatives to lead a new revolution! A revolution of extreme accompaniment or of walking with other people. A practice of deeply listening and working with the other’s deepest desires. A practice of loving each other. Love is the universal translator. With love, we can go where no person has gone before!
If we listen and love, maybe we will all be able to see past the space debris and see the cosmos in each other’s souls.
Shalom and Amen,
© 2013, post , Terri Stewart, All rights reserved