We are two halves. These halves are often in conflict. One option is to pick a side versus the other one. But then we are denying a part of ourselves.
What we have to try to do is negotiate between the different parts of ourselves. This applies at the individual level, with interpersonal relationships, and at a societal level.
If you insist that the way you currently view things is correct and are refusing to listen or negotiate with other points of view… then conflict, death and destruction are inevitable. We must always try to find a middle way.Bollinger, R. 2019
- Brains: Logical side vs emotional.
- Belief Systems: Religious/Spiritual vs Scientific/Rational.
- Marriage/Partnerships: You vs your partner.
- Politics: Left vs Right; Democrat vs Republican; Liberal vs Conservative.
We must always:
- Listen respectfully to others.
- Ask good questions in order to better understand differing perspectives.
- Choose kindness over our need to be right.
- Empathise and try to see other points of view.
- Be still, calm and wise. Don’t rush.
- Negotiate – try to find common ground
- Giving us… A plurality of ideas
- Which leads to… Peace and harmony
The opposite of this is:
- Being certain you’re already right. In other words, refusing to consider the possibility you may choose to amend your current perspective in light of new evidence.
- Refusing to listen to others, or just waiting for our turn to talk.
- Act quickly and rashly.
- Belittling, mocking and dismissing other perspectives or other people.
- Giving us… Ideological purity
- Which leads to… Conflict and anger
Looking for differences, reasons to disagree… this often results in us throwing the baby out with the bath water. In other words, we reject a small part of something, then use that small rejection as justification to reject the whole idea/belief system/person. We miss out on huge benefits just because we don’t like a small part of something.
Instead, we need to look at what we have in common, how we can accommodate other ideas and other people.
Let’s try to integrate all the advantages of all these different ways of thinking and being… and just learn to ignore or tolerate the parts which we don’t like. We need to find ways to live in peace and harmony, rather than continually rejecting parts of ourselves and others.
This is the middle way.
It’s not easy. It feels painful. It rarely feels fully satisfactory.
But it’s the best way, overall.