The heart calls us together in an aspiration for unity and connection.
The essence of human connection is heart.
Now, that doesn’t mean we all have to agree. This is something I talked about in more depth in a previous post: A Different Opinion Is Not Your Enemy.
We can have a different opinion and still come together.
That doesn’t mean it will be easy.
It also doesn’t mean it has to be difficult!
Leaving easy or difficult aside, it comes down to this – one of my favourite quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh:
“Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll have likely seen me refer to this before… Possibly many times!
It’s powerful because it really captures something so important!
The Connection Between Love and Understanding.
Coming together with an aspiration for unity and connection while having different opinions can be done through an attitude of understanding.
An attitude of understanding is a willingness to understand.
If we want to reconnect to our heart… if we want more love in our life… if we want more love in the world, we can do it through an attitude of understanding.
Let’s make this a little ore tangible.
Recall a time when you’ve really tried to understand someone. Whether you agree or disagree with them doesn’t matter… It’s more than just understanding their perspective, although that is an important part. An attitude of understanding engages a deeper part of us.
There’s a sense of something deep inside you opening unconditionally and connecting with something deep in them.
The act of understanding connects us to the people or things we’re trying to understand. Connection is a fundamental quality of unity.
When we allow ourselves to understand someone else, the sense of separation dissolves and there’s unity at a deeper level… And it just feels good in the heart.
And, what about when someone genuinely tries to understand you?
When you can feel like they’re listening and connecting to what you have to say. Even if they disagree with you on something, but they allow space for you to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings without any judgement.
That feels really good too!… Right?
We can feel that unity again because we’re heard.
Whether we recognize it or not at the time, in the background of genuine understanding is love.
With this principle of love and understanding in mind I invite you to apply it to your life and your vision of the world.
Notice when you engage a willingness and an attitude of understanding, and recognize how you feel.
Notice when you resist understanding. How do you feel? Why do you resist? No judgement. Just be aware of it.
Even the process of understanding yourself, your emotions and your reactions is the same principle as trying to understand someone else… and yes, that’s not always easy too!
Ultimately the more you understand yourself, the more you will understand others… and vice versa.
See how this works?
A virtuous cycle of understanding and connection leading you back into your heart.
It’s good for you, and its good for humanity!
Notice it out in the world. Notice where understanding brings greater connection.
Cultivate Understanding by Seeing it’s Absence
Another way to deepen into understanding, is to pay attention to where it’s absent.
Understanding means understanding both unity and separation, peace and conflict.
To understand separation is to understand connection.
You might be pleasantly surprised by what opens in you when you understand separation and conflict.
Where in your life or the world can you see a lack of understanding? Or an unwillingness to understand?
Notice how it creates more separation and conflict.
How does your heart respond to this?
How does it feel different to where there is understanding?
A great example of where the lack of understanding can be quite obvious is politics. When certain topics become used for political reasons it creates separation and division. Politicians and mainstream media often like to label people and put them into boxes playing one group off against another. They don’t want people to understand each other.
Notice the difference between people in your life, or perhaps on TV, news, or YouTube, who try and help you understand a topic, versus people who just tell you what to do… They feel very different.
These are just some examples of where we can engage an attitude of understanding to understand separation and conflict, but there are many.
Now, go and engage your heart with understanding!
The Peacekeeper Project offers training and education to help you quiet your busy mind, so you can live from your heart.
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