In these days of widespread ideological polarization, like-mindedness seems to be quite uncommon, both nationally and internationally, creating bubbles of righteousness and radical thinking.
Many of us pundits have written and spoken about ways to transcend this polarization but it continues to widen and foster the debate so conspicuous in our media leading to Election Day here in the U.S.
But what about like-heartedness? Could our common interest in the well-being of our nation, our world and our species – how we feel about things – trump our opinions and positions, or, what we think about things?
I think they can. We can take a stand for what our hearts want and see as possible while softening our positions about how to get there (what our thinking wants).
There is a powerful distinction between a stand and a position. I originally heard it from humanitarian Lynne Twist who wrote:
Taking a stand is a way of living and being that draws on a place within yourself that is at the very heart of who you are. When you take a stand, you find your place in the universe, and you have the capacity to move the world.
Lynne goes on to write about a position and the difference between a position and a stand:
Although from the outside they can sometimes look similar, the difference is that a fixed position forces us to take sides and argue for or against something, while taking a stand opens up new visions and possibilities and reduces defensiveness in others.
Doesn’t that inspire us to take stands rather than positions? A stand comes from the heart, so we can see who else shares the same stand in improving the human condition rather than “to take sides and argue for or against something.” Arguing for our positions exaggerates our “unlike-mindedness,” our difference of opinions, and drives us deeper into our convictions that we are right, that we have the correct answers, that we know what is best. We build a wall around our convictions so other points of view cannot enter or influence us.
By looking into our hearts and seeing what we stand for – our vision for our community, our country, our world – we can start to experience where we are in alignment with those who think differently. We can see that, generally, we all want the same thing; that our differences are mostly about the process – how to get what we all want. Once we see that we want almost the same thing, we can explore common ground together without the rancor, defensiveness and disrespect so obvious today.