Building Bridges to Find Common Ground
We will always meet people who come from a different point of view. It is my belief that it’s important to keep an open mind and try to find common ground. This blog post illustrates how I did this when I received the following email from a person who had registered to participate in the World Peace Experiment. After registering he had followed a link to my personal website where I have a great deal of information about my political views.
Here is what he wrote:
"The “onlyloveprevails” site was so good and I liked your prayers, etc. that I submitted my name along with my wife’s to make the 80,000. Then I went to your site and found something completely different (I guess I shouldn’t have gone to the Politics page first). I am a supporter of the president AND of peace, but all I saw on that page was leftist propaganda garbage that did not seem to come from someone who meditates from A Course in Miracles. I hope someday you rise above duality consciousness and really represent a peace movement. I am not there yet either which is why the Politics page struck a bad chord. Peace, Lee”
I responded with the following:
Thank you for your email and for your heartfelt observations about my CarolHansenGrey.com site. I took your email into meditation with me this morning and asked for guidance.
I do believe that “only love prevails” and practice its principle in my day-to-day life. However, I also believe we each have a responsibility to work in our own way toward making our world a better place, whether that be in areas that personally touch my heart (including raising spiritual awareness, promoting peace, facilitating health and healing, supporting truth and integrity in government, helping to empower the disempowered, safeguarding our environment) or in other areas just as important. One of the reasons I created the CarolHansenGrey.com site was to give me a space to share my work and my personal views on various topics.
That being said, I also know that there are ways to share my views that are respectful rather than sarcastic. You did not specifically indicate on which page you found the “leftist propaganda garbage” so I took the time to carefully review the material on my site. I agree that some of the material I have posted in the political humor section and the political quotations section of the site is not respectful and I will be taking down the material that, in my opinion, fits that description.
Other than that, however, I found only articles that were a meaningful representation of the concerns I have regarding the direction the current administration is leading this country and accurately reflect my point of view. I am sure that your point of view is much different than mine and that does not mean you are wrong or I am wrong — it’s simply a different perspective.
Most of us are aware of the political polarization in the U.S. (and throughout the world). My sense is that there is actually more common ground between those who find themselves on the left or on the right of an issue than what appears on the surface. I believe if we were willing to start from that place of common ground we could begin to explore many ways to heal the polarization. I admit, however, that sarcastic humor is not one of those ways. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to see an area in myself that is in need of healing.
Thank you also, once again, for participating in the World Peace Experiment. Together, no matter what our political views, we will work to co-create a world of peace where… Only Love Prevails, Carol"
A few days later I received the following response:
"I really didn’t expect a reply, seeing as how I live in the “red” heartland and you live on the “left” coast, but my heart was warmed as to how you responded. You obviously do study A Course in Miracles (I have on and off for two years now).
Since you were willing to re-evaluate some of the text on your website, I felt that I had to do the same (since I started this). It will be hard to get rid of a whole section of Hillary humor (there is a lot of funny stuff there, but it does create divisiveness). I will also get rid of the political quotes section showing the "less-than-fully-awake” statements of Kerry, Gore, Dean, Pelosi, Harry, and the rest.
Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved at the same level it was created. For years, I have gotten really good at debating the polarizing issues of the day. I’ve got the facts on my side, but the problem with that is – you and many others have a different set of facts from which to operate.
You are probably right about us having much common ground and I am sorry that I came down so hard on your personal website. I guess it stemmed from a seminar I went to the previous weekend, given by Judith Pennington. She is a highly-evolved person who occasionally lapsed into duality-consciousness when talking about the president (I believe that Bush 43 is the most honest and straight-forward president we have had in my lifetime). Anyway, I saw how this highly-evolved person quickly came down into the lower vibrations and brought me down also.
My goal in life is to be able to rise above the chatter and really “know” the material in A Course in Miracles and the other study group I attend – A.R.E (Association for Research and Enlightenment). Thank you for rising above my accusations and raising the bar for me to do the same.
It is true that Only Love Prevails, Lee"
This exchange helped me to see the importance of keeping the lines of communication open, even if the person is coming from a completely different viewpoint. I feel a closeness with Lee now, where if I had chosen to simply ignore his email or even worse, had responded in anger, that bridge to common ground would have never been built.