I have come to understand that we are all essentially looking at the same view, just interpreting it in our own particular and peculiar ways. The trick to successfully sharing the picture is in figuring the language of the one you are sharing with. This only happens when you become able to hear and see the other person. Debate presupposes that the other person is wrong, and that you are right. Dialogue accepts that the other person’s awareness is appropriate to all of their experiences and inheritances. No one person is right or wrong. There is just the difference of how much of truth is being experienced by either.
It helped me in the past to ascertain my motivation regarding my sharing. Sometimes it was out of loneliness of having a unique viewpoint. Sometimes it was out of the joy of discovery. I have witnessed many times where a seeker tries to prove their perceptions, and disprove the other’s. What does it harm you that another person does not share your perceptions? Why would you expect them to?
We most certainly are not all one. We are individuals with unique personal experiences that have shaped our beliefs. I have seen many people with the desire to find the flaws in other people’s beliefs. They will offer very little but borrowed words, and will not attempt to see or hear the other person they are trying in desperation to correct. Were they capable of turning off their reactions to the words, they might discover that the other person speaks of the same truth as they do, but in a language unique to their experience (much like two people witnessing the same accident, but giving different reports of it). It might appear like a young child and a college student describing the same experience perceived through different awarenesses.
I have evolved past the awareness level where I needed to value, judge, compare, or destroy another’s beliefs. Debate has always seemed limited and self serving to me. By placing another on the defensive I lost any opportunity that was possible for us to reach out and share different perspectives. In dialogue however, by accepting that the other person’s perceptions are supposed to be different from my own, since they’ve had a history different than I have, it has always been my experience that both of our eyes and ears tended to be more open, with much more food for thought having been shared.
I also had to learn how to deal with someone who had no interest in my perceptions, but insisted theirs was worth hearing. I do not have a responsibility to take on the emotional neediness of the ones I come into contact with. Sometimes the best way to teach is by setting an example that if the other person is not able or willing to be mature in their interactions, then you will not entertain them. They should be made aware of what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behavior. A person whose interest is exploration should not be made to suffer these antagonists who are bored with themselves and require conflict to be satiated. One does not have to throw a rock very far to hit someone who has read a book and thinks themselves an expert that can debate you.
It is the sad fact that meaningless public conflicts are a secret addiction for many. Just like in the school yard when a fight breaks out, a crowd gathers to be entertained. Do not be a part of a community that has this poison seething under its surface. A mature community that has progressive goals in mind will have administrators that will not tolerate such foolishness. Every time you settle for the dumbing down of interaction, you have no one to blame but yourself when it becomes your turn to be the target of some hateful or emotionally needy person.
There is a good exercise one can utilise while learning dialogue. I have a saying that I have been teaching for years…”If the mountain is bullshit, it does not matter who is king”. It takes a person secure in their own awareness to allow another person their awareness. Does it matter if they are ‘wrong’ and you do not ‘correct’ them? I have a secret for you…if you allow another person to be ‘right’, they will move on to the next person to have their argument with – an argument you would not have won, anyways. They were not interested in truth. They just wanted you to be absolutely clear what their truth was. Your truth, as you have come to understand over the years, was not even part of the conversation. They cannot hear you until they mature enough to not hear themselves. Let them be ‘right’ and you will find a lot more time on your hands to find people that do not need to be right all the time.
You will know you have mastered the art of dialogue when you can go into any forum, chat room or live discussion and sit on your opinions, allowing everyone else their perceptions without needing to correct them. Like yourself, they will get closer to truth at their own pace, with their own experiences. Would you deny your Self that rich tapestry of exploration and experiences that came to shape you into what you are today? You cannot allow for your own growth, then deny another their natural unfoldment.
~ DC Vision