behaviors, compromise, consensus, curiousity, extremes, hulility, Luke, Meg Wheatley, middle, perseverance, polarities, strong emotions, The Sophia Center for Spirituality
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance. (See LK 8:15)
Good advice from this gospel acclamation for today sent me on a search that was quickly satisfied. Not being otherwise inspired by the Scriptures for the day, I turned toward my reference shelf located just beside the chair I’m sitting in. My eye fell (of course) on the perfect answer, Meg Wheatley’s book Perseverance! I opened to a page called “Middle.” It rang enough bells in the six short paragraphs to make me want to send out the whole thing – but maybe snippets will suffice.
We live in a world of extremes and polarities. People take positions at the far edge of an issue and then scream across the distance they created…Living at the extreme consumes enormous resources. We spend energy on justifying our position, on attacking our enemy, on defending our ground, on protecting our position… Somewhere in all the furor and drama, we’ve lost sight of the middle. Yet it’s in the middle where the possibilities reside. Some call the middle “compromise” or “consensus” – terms which have come to mean failure, mediocrity and loss. We don’t remember meeting in the middle as anything but negative.
Perhaps because we’re so addicted to strong emotions and loud noises to motivate us, we no longer seek the quiet space of center. But all spiritual traditions speak of moderation, harmony, balance – the middle way.
One way to rediscover middle is to notice your everyday behaviors. Notice where you’re positioned on an issue important to you. Are you sitting out on one side, justifying your behavior, assuming you’re right and others are wrong? Or are you open to the possibility that you can’t see very well from where you’re sitting, that you don’t know all the facts in the case?
Humility and curiosity are what shift us to center. Just by being curious we move toward the middle ground, with its fertile promise of new ideas and new relationships.
Unable to be comfortable leaving out more than a few sentences of the page, I hope it is something that’s helpful for all of us as we seek to move toward common ground. Remember perseverance!