What we can do to make the world a better place

Beauty of smooth waters

Just thinking this morning…

(This is a re-print from a note I wrote on Facebook yesterday.  Carla suggested it should also be printed on one of my other blogs.  Simply Here blog raised its hand and begged, “Me!  Me!  Can I post it, please?”

“Yes, baby blog, you may post it…”) 

So many of our challenges in the world exist because we see the world with a limited viewpoint, with a certain perspective.

Then we see another person acting in a way that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t coincide with our limited viewpoint.

We judge the person because their actions look wrong if they fit in with our preconceived expectations and assumptions. Their actions don’t make sense. Sometimes the actions look wrong simply because they don’t mesh with our own awareness.

If we could only turn the kaleidoscope of our awareness to the other person’s viewpoint–suddenly, perhaps, the actions and responses of the other person would make perfect sense! We would be enlightened beyond our limited focus.

It’s challenging, having a singular perspective. (And no matter how big our awareness still is–it’s often still limited–unless we have learned to flow like water as the different viewpoints express themselves.)

I think if we continually are aware of our limited awareness (and aware that underlying beliefs and thoughts and feelings mean different things to every single person in the universe), we can turn toward another person with soft heart and truly listen to where they might be coming from. In our deep listening, we might hear something beyond our limited viewpoint. We might feel ourselves allowing, allowing, allowing as our viewpoint becomes less rigid, less fixed, less judgmental.

We might truly want to KNOW where the other person is coming from, how they are interpreting the world. Or we might simply be able to stay in our soft and open heart without needing to know, letting it all arise–knowing without needing to know–that the other person is simply coming from a viewpoint that has value, has worth, makes sense to his or her particular viewpoint.

Thanks in part to Sherrilene for inspiring these morning thoughts!

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19 thoughts on “What we can do to make the world a better place

  1. “In our deep listening, we might hear something beyond our limited viewpoint.”

    yes, Yes, and YES again. I believe this, too, Kathy.

    I was just sharing with Barbara on her blog (Eternal Presence) that she might find value in watching the DVD “Nobelity” — where nine Nobel Laureats are interviewed regarding their perspective of the top ten problems on the planet. We checked out a copy from the library — you might be able to find a copy at your library, too.

    Thank you, as always, for a wonderful, thought-provoking post.

    • Laurie, that sounds like an interesting and valuable DVD. Will keep an eye open for it. Glad to hear you are a believer. It all makes me want to listen even more deeper, every day.

  2. Kathy, I’ve been thinking about this lately too. A lot! How to stay more often in that place of a soft and open heart, to not need to know, to just allow. Everyone, everything, myself. Sometimes it feels so beautiful, so right that my heart almost breaks with the beauty of it. Other times it feels as if all that is the opposite of this is just chomping at the bit, waiting for the right moment to burst through. A very humbling place to be.
    Yes to all that you have just said and thank you!

    • Colleen, that place of a soft and open heart seems a place where there is so much beauty and spirit. This past year has sometimes been a roller coaster, for me, of union in that place…and then the roller coaster dips and the lesson of humility returns. Up and down, up and down. Lately the ride seems to be evening out. Am now spending a few days in meditation and semi-retreat. It feels so good… Blessings!

  3. How beautifully phrased that was, softly flowing from your heart to the computer, across the internet, to my computer screen and into my heart. Not just full of insight and wisdom, but subtly, gently, touching the heart and awakening compassion… it felt as though you were walking around a room with a candle, lighting other candles, held by your readers, until the whole room is filled with light.. goosebumps. Hugs, Kathy. 🙂

    • Hi, Reggie. What a lovely way to put that. We all light candles for one another…and perhaps the light in the world will shine a little stronger. Hugs to you, dear. Way over there across the shining sea.

  4. How long can we keep afloat in deep water? Does the depth matter? When we are out of our our depth, we panic, we struggle, we drown. Society is drowning because most people dont know how to float. Those that swim may visit many places, but those that float move with the water to their true destination with such little effort. Float through life and life will keep you bouyant.

    Thank you for sharing your provoking thoughts

    Love & light
    Shyla xx

  5. I think you’ve touched on a very important point – perspective. I usually talk about how perspective is the only thing we can control, which is true, but you make a good point in that it is useful to use our control of perspective to be able to reflect (meta-cognition) on the other person’s perspective. This is a very useful tool for being in the world.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    • Dear Sage, It is good to use this valuable tool, isn’t it? So glad you share that perspective is what we can control. Love & Gratitude back to you…

  6. I find knowing and wisdom and discernment to be the MOST amazing gift. (ok perhaps only in the moment that it took for me to type it–only to be replaced with the next noticed thing)

    I find it AMAZING when a person locks onto a certain thing or point of view and is fully vested in it, with their entire beings. Such a thing is a rare commitment indeed.

    I do like this:
    “So many of our challenges in the world exist because we see the world with a limited viewpoint, with a certain perspective.

    Then we see another person acting in a way that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t coincide with our limited viewpoint.

    We judge the person because their actions look wrong if they fit in with our preconceived expectations and assumptions. Their actions don’t make sense. Sometimes the actions look wrong simply because they don’t mesh with our own awareness.

    If we could only turn the kaleidoscope of our awareness to the other person’s viewpoint–suddenly, perhaps, the actions and responses of the other person would make perfect sense! We would be enlightened beyond our limited focus.”

    Being able to see and wanting to see how others think can have NO bearing at all upon what I think and feel, and any action or inaction taken upon such seeing. I LOVE that! Perhaps what I label small or narrow or even insane, is an intolerance, other times it might be a knowing of right and wrong, reality and delusion, and an entire host of other opposite presumptive words and labels!

    Is each one a glittering jewel to be turned about in the light, like your kaleidoscope? or might I exhibit the set jaw of the Curmudgeon? It can be fun to be both just to see what occurs! Thanks for sharing this one here.

    • Wisdom and discernment are great gifts, indeed. Sometimes I wish for more of these gifts, Elisa!

      You are astute to say that labeling can be both…narrow and insane, or a knowing of right and wrong.
      Words can be so limiting, when so often they point to both/and.

    • OOOO another contribution toward a week of encountering differing definitions and actions toward and around empathy. So many repeat the word and attach it to so many things.

      • Yes, to both of you. Empathy means so many different things to so many… (How’s this for an empathetic response?) Smiling toward both of you, Val and Elisa.

  7. “I think if we continually are aware of our limited awareness we can turn toward another person with soft heart and truly listen to where they might be coming from.” I find this to be true. If we all sincerely try to put ourselves in another ones shoes for a few minutes and try to give someone the benefit of the doubt as our first reaction, we do tend to stop judging and be more compassionate. Beautiful sentiments, Kathy…

    • I am glad you find this to be true, as well, Barbara. Sometimes it feels harder for me to listen deeply on-line than in person. In person you can ask a lot of additional questions to find out where the person is coming from. On-line it sometimes feels too cumbersome to spend that amount of time. I am also suddenly thinking of my husband and children. And how–after all these years–it’s still impossible to know exactly where they are coming from. It feels good to keep softening, keep softening…. Thank you so much.

  8. I’ve been listening to Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication on disk as I hike lately. He is really quite radical for being so calm and peaceful.

    What I am learning is that empathetically connecting with what is alive in the other person, trying to connect with what they need; and then, what we need; begins to foster understanding and with understanding comes more peaceful relationships and interactions.

    At the moment, its potential to change so much, about the way of living I’ve known for 56 years, seems profound. It is the language and the purpose of the language we’ve been taught, that has brought on so much conflict.

    And we can learn a new language that sounds much like the programmed one but a language whose impact is caring about the well-being of each of us.

    And you have the key perfectly –

    “the other person is simply coming from a viewpoint that has value, has worth, makes sense to his or her particular viewpoint.”

    Love that beautiful heart and mind of yours.

    • Rosenberg’s non-violent communication sounds so valuable. I would be interested in that. It is a challenge for so many of us to navigate that dance between listening deeply to the Other and sharing deeply from ourselves. It can result in so much conflict, or so much joining together. I just looked on my bookshelf to discover a book I read years ago: “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen. It, too was valuable… It would heed us all to learn this deeper way of communicating. Thank you, Deb.

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