Listening is the Beginning of Peace- a phrase borrowed from poet & essayist Mark Nepo- was the title of a seminar I led on resolving interpersonal conflict. This was a group of senior leaders within an organization where distrust and friction between them had made it impossible to achieve the simplest of tasks.
At the time, personal life, business, politics and social change had all looked like different arenas, each with a different rule book and cause-effect cycle.
Now these areas look much the same to me at the most fundamental level. Each of these systems is run by human beings and all human beings are run by the same mechanisms of mind- the same rules of cause and effect apply to us all.
Lashing out in anger, paralysis by fear, the capacity to forgive, the willingness to innovate- these capabilities are in us all. The individual is a microcosm. We experience and express these as communities, societies, countries.
The personal and the global is the same.
What we are willing to do as individuals, we will eventually be willing to do as communities.
A healing of the world has to begin with a healing of the self.
Not just the other guy.
When I signed up for this conversation around global change I felt I had something to say about this that might help move the world in a better direction.
Without my realizing it, it had looked adversarial:
Those crazy terrorists vs the rest of us
Those who know where feelings come from vs those who don’t
I hadn’t seen then the inner journey that was the true opportunity here.
Getting involved in leading change has meant a light starting to shine on areas in my mind that I hadn’t seen before. Things that had looked like facts, not thought.
People, issues and events that I had viewed through the lens of judgement rather than openness.
I feel like those of us who signed up for this conversation around global change signed up and said:
We are the first volunteers who are willing to open our minds to seeing things differently and to changing our minds.
The first volunteers to be willing to DEMONSTRATE freedom, goodwill, innovation- humanity 2.0