You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open.
You’re able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others,
without being crippled by your own judgment.
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
Being inclusive helps us answer the question: What must I do?
We know that we are each conditioned to see only a small slice of Reality. Only by being inclusive of each other’s perspective can we see the bigger picture and therefore make a more appropriate response to the situation with which we are confronted.
Why is that often so difficult? Why do we frequently feel threatened and defensive and argumentative when confronted with a value and belief system different from our own? We’ve all experienced it. What is going on?
Two dynamics seem to be at work. One, someone might be expressing ideas and opinions that for us comprise our shadow. For whatever reason, we have labeled them unacceptable in ourselves and, consequently, in others.
A second, related dynamic is that we often identify with our ideas, values and beliefs. Challenge my beliefs, and you challenge my sense of self.
On this blog we have tried to make the case that our identity is much larger than our worldview. We are the product of a 13.5 billion year evolutionary process; in fact, we are the process itself: The processes that have guided the evolution of life continue to guide our development as a human species.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist, observed that one attribute of the evolutionary process is that it moves in the direction of increasing consciousness and complexity. Cells aggregate into organs. Organs into creatures. Creatures into colonies. And so on.
The Latin root of “complexity” is “complecti” which means “to embrace.” By embracing the opposing point of view, we are complying with a fundamental aspect of the evolutionary process. We are creating a more complex, richer, more conscious system. We are, in short, enhancing our ability to survive.
To embrace a new idea often requires letting go or “loosening” our attachment to a pre-existing idea. Detachment from our ideas, values and beliefs is critical to being inclusive. It does not mean that we no longer hold that idea, it means we no longer feel that we are that idea.
Detachment is hard work.
Recommended article that explores “being inclusive” in more detail: Soul-Journ.]
A visual meditation on what it means to be inclusive from a personal perspective.
A video on what it means to be inclusive from an evolutionary perspective.