Yesterday I was able to meet with my monthly “spiritual practices circle” for the first time this year. It was a lovely way to spend a slice of the day and a renewal of my conviction about the importance of deep listening and conversation. I was taken back to that privileged time this morning as I read some of Meg Wheatley’s comments in her book, Turning to One Another. Her point is something to remember in the complex and tumultuous times in which we live. I offer her words as a reflection that may open us in new ways in our interactions with others today – or any day.
It is very difficult to give up our certainties – our positions, our beliefs, our explanations. These help define us; they lie at the heart of our personal identity. Yet I believe we will succeed in changing this world only if we can think and work together in new ways. Curiosity is what we need. We don’t have to let go of what we believe, but we do need to be curious about what someone else believes. We do need to acknowledge that their way of interpreting the world might be essential to our survival…
To be curious about how someone else interprets things, we have to be willing to admit that we’re not capable of figuring things out alone. If our solutions don’t work as well as we want them to, if our explanations of why something happened don’t feel sufficient, it’s time to begin asking others what they see and think. When so many interpretations are available, I can’t understand why we would be satisfied with superficial conversations where we pretend to agree with one another. (p. 35)