Diversity being a strength goes counter to the message from our current government and many of our politicians.
I was therefore delighted to be in the presence of the 7,500 or so attendees of the Parliament who recognized the value of the many varieties of gifts that different opinions and views can bring us.
Respectful inclusivity was not just talked about, but felt and experienced in each presentation and discussion.
The theme of the Parliament was “Working together in curiosity to create a world that works through everyone.”
In other words all voices need to be heard as we come together in deep inquiry to create our world.
The Parliament renewed my hope for our world. Inspiration and wisdom flowed through the many presenters who have been diligently working for decades to bring deep dialogue into areas of conflict between faiths, nationalities, gender and race.
Inclusivity is the nature of wholeness, and we cannot be whole (and healthy) by leaving anything out—no matter if we deem it undesirable or not.
My personality tends toward perfectionism. Thus I have spent many years trying to rid myself (and, alas, those around me!) of what seemed ugly, deformed or flawed.
I really wanted to “eliminate the negative,” like that old popular song.
Always being on the lookout to see what must be gotten rid of was a never ending job. It was exhausting and eventually caused depression and burn out.
Eventually I have learned the value of remembering that this is the way it is for now, and it will change.
Whatever has happened has happened--regardless of whether I like it or not. This is obvious.
But what isn’t so obvious is my attitude towards whatever is happening. Am I pushing things away or welcoming them into my life with an open hearted non-judgmental way?
Am I curious or judgmental? What am I not seeing?
Will I keep an open mind recognizing that I really don’t know the reason for whatever is taking place? I only know how I am seeing it.
Am I looking through I narrow lens? Or will I broaden my perspective to include other possibilities? For instance will I trust that evolution knows how to proceed?
Our world has been evolving for over 14 billion years, and it seems to value diversity. Just look at everything around us!
Therefore, even those whom I dislike and strongly disagree with must be included in my heart. I need to listen to what they are saying, and even more important, what they are not saying.
When I can stand in others’ shoes and see from their perspective I learn something valuable that I hadn’t known. And I feel closer to them.
Even when things are unpleasant and painful there is something going on underneath that needs to be listened to allow for the new to emerge.
Can we learn to hold the tension between the opposites? This practice takes patience and deep inquiry. The outcome always reveals something new—something that was not possible before.
It is vital to realize develop a practice that keeps us available to engage with the tension of our differences. Amazing solutions come forth when we are willing to stay in dialogue between the opposites.
Inquiry rather than proclamation leads to creativity.
This works also for the many opposing voices we hear inside us. At one moment we may want mercy, and the next we demand retribution and full payment for the wrongs we see.
These diverse voices need to be listened to. A journal is a great place to allow them to speak.
Each voice has something to offer. And what saves the day may come from an unexpected place within us. It may be a voice we have repressed for a long time.
Emotions are diverse, but if they are flowing through us they need to be included rather than shut down and repressed. Emotions (conscious or not) have a way of directing our behavior.
We can’t tackle all problems at once, but we can notice when something doesn’t please us, especially when we are disappointed. It is vital to experience and actually name our feelings. This process will help us integrate what is taking place at the moment.
When I feel sad or disappointed I place a hand on my heart and note the body sensations. Where does this emotion lodge? What is it doing in my body? I also acknowledge a feeling of loss while also reminding myself that this is the way things are right now, and they will change.
I continue breathing, and notice what arises next. It’s amazing how things seem to work out eventually. We are strengthened through the process of experiencing the diverse emotions that flow through us.
They will lead us to our core beliefs. They can show us our deeper motives; for instance how we strategize, plan and try to manipulate situations. We might question how helpful this has been. Or did it simply cause more suffering by trying to control the uncontrollable.
As we sit in the quiet, observing rather than joining in with any thought, we become more all-inclusive, whole. Patiently we notice what arises next. Eventually new perspectives surface that lead to healthy solutions.
It may surprise us to discover that most gifts spring from the darkness of the unconscious. All it takes is our patience, effort and willingness to take our light of awareness into the darkness.
May the dark we see be the darkness of the womb.