Support Peace in the World by Expanding Your Circle of Trust

Support Peace in the World by Expanding Your Circle of Trust

PHIL: We just watched a documentary on fungi and how the mycelium acts as connections, allowing a strong tree to supply nutrients to a weaker tree. Such mutuality is found everywhere. Bees need flowers just as much as flowers need bees, and we humans need our gut flora to survive. There is competition, too, and the same mixture of cooperation and competition is found in humans also.

You can’t trust everyone. There are indisputably bad guys in the world. But how many? List the 100 people you know best and count how many of them are bad guys. Not many, I bet, yet many people still act as if much of the world is far worse than the people they know personally. Strangers cannot be trusted because their politics or culture or religion or skin color or language is different.

That’s fear speaking. It shouts so loudly because its role has been to keep us safe, to pull us back from the unknown and potentially dangerous, and it acts quickly before we can even think what to do.

Fear is divisive, while love is a unifying force. The more complex our civilization becomes and the more we are faced with global crises, the more we need to work together. That needs love and trust, not fear and distrust. We can move in that direction by expanding the circle with whom we identify to encompass all humans. That new invention, the internet, is helping by allowing us to see and communicate with each other and see our commonalities.

The way we see others in the world has parallels in the way we see others in our life. Change your relationships with the people you know, and that change can ripple outward. You can’t have peace in the world without peace in your heart.Fear is divisive, while love is a unifying force #quote #relationships Click To Tweet

MAUDE: Last night we watched Fantastic Fungi on Netflix, which was full of information, and which got us discussing again our love vs. fear approaches, how to handle disagreements and other areas of concern in our work to spread peace in relationships. In that work, love is the uniting force.

Almost any time you comment with a different viewpoint to another person, a charge of creating divisiveness comes up. What shall we do to handle this in our relationships? Shall we remain silent and stop talking with each other?

We feel it is important to keep communication going, but it is the style and kind of communication that becomes pivotal. We worked with a group called Braver Angels that brings together people from separate political views in a structured program aimed at understanding and information sharing and devoid of debate or attempts to change the others’ beliefs. It is purely about gaining understanding and information about the other viewpoint.

I was talking with my son the other day, who had just had a conversation with a dear friend who holds the opposite point of view concerning Covid vaccinations than he does. He did not challenge his friend or debate with him. He merely started asking him what was behind his decisions and made it a purely personal story rather than a right and wrong perspective, sharing how he felt as he continued to ask about the concerns of his friend. This was a warm sharing, reaffirming their love for each other and enabling them to know each other’s viewpoint without tension and alienation.

We must remain flexible with each other and always remember that our connection is the important and underlying part of the exchanges we have. How do we continue to come from love in these very fraught issues where some may feel their very lives are threatened?

We believe that our path lies in expanding the group that we associate ourselves with. Instead of just identifying with those that hold the same viewpoint as we do, of those who hold the same trusts and distrusts that we hold, we must expand the group we see ourselves as belonging to. We have to stretch our group to include all of humanity.

The work requires digging down deep and finding that place of love connection where we understand, above all differences, that we are in the same group, the same species. It helps to stretch the view of change to longer periods of time, so that we can see beyond what is confronting us in the moment to the larger picture of how we are all in this together.

This approach is also the key to our work and why we put forth the idea of peace as a process to be realized one relationship at a time. The more you know love is the connective factor, the more you can respect the unique individuality of each person and offer total acceptance to each other. We may have ideas that are juxtaposed to each other but we are all in the same group; not vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, not liberals and conservatives, rather one species – humanity.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes

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