09 March 2011

Season of Nonviolence – Day 39: Dialogue

Welcome to Day 39 of the Season of Nonviolence – 64 Days of peaceful wisdom honoring the lives and nonviolent principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

Nonviolence begins with learning how to be less violent and more compassionate towards ourselves. We learn by building the courage to speak and act with respect, honor and reverence for our own being.


"A fully functional multiracial society cannot be achieved without a sense of history and open, honest dialogue." ~ Cornel West

Serious dialogue between people with different viewpoints and backgrounds requires us to be willing to truly listen and to respond out of wisdom rather than defense. When we let go of our egocentric humanity long enough to hear hard truths, we open the door to deeper understanding and mutual acceptance.

Marianne Williamson describes a healthy society as one in which "those who disagree can do so with honor and respect for other people's opinions, and an appreciation for our shared humanity." In the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, he says, "Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others." Today, speak up but do not enter into the spirit of argument.

Contemplate or journal about how you respond when personally challenged or criticized. Are you defensive and try to justify yourself? Do you have to prove you are right? Can you stop the emotional response long enough to really hear what the other person is saying? Is this approach working for you?

No comments: