In the June 2013 issue of my newsletter – John Renesch’s Mini Keynote – I wrote about ending “they conversations” and focusing on “we conversations” since we are only going to transform the world if we do it together, acknowledging that we are interconnected and interdependent. Conversations that point to “them”, or the others, or any group apart from us, can often be mean-spirited, divisive and unproductive. So many words are being wasted on finding blame, pointing fingers, making cases for “the other” being wrong or bad.
I see this with politics (yes, both sides!), religion, families, even entertainment. And, of course, media loves the narrative because it sells! Why does it sell? Because we eat it up! If we didn’t listen, watch or read it they would not have any customers.
I see this in a spiritual group I belong to. After our inspirational time together we enjoy a potluck lunch and the conversation often gets pretty lively. Sometimes the focus of the conversation can be on some group who is widely seen as wrong-minded or out-of-favor of the group and the atmosphere can become very non-spiritual. The energy shifts from being delightfully expansive, inspirational and inclusive to being harsh, contractive and exclusive. Voices are quite soft in the spiritual circle and often quite loud during the social time afterward.
While I have observed this for several months, I find the most curious thing about it is that almost everyone seems oblivious of this shift. I attribute this to our having become acculturated to narratives that divide, separate and belittle.
In June, I wrote about this in my newsletter from a conceptual perspective. But how do I remove myself from this social habit, this entrancement, and stop participating in this acculturated habit, this mass entrancement? How do I change this habit and make myself less susceptible to “going along” with the others without offending anyone or seeming condescending?
I learned years ago that to commit to a conscious life one needs to be very discerning, which initially seemed to contradict the New Age admonition about not judging others. I became able to distinguish between judging and discerning which reconciled the seeming conflict for me.
Now I see that my choice is between having more conscious conversations and communication in my life or being part of “they conversations” to be nice and going along with my friends. If I am truly committed to being more conscious, I will not tolerate, condone or participate in conversations that are divisive or mean-spirited about others.
If I believe as I do, that we are all connected and interrelated, that we are all parts of God, uniquely ourselves but also a part of the “Great Somethingness,” then how can I engage in a conversation that pretends only some of us are parts of God but not all? Where is my compassion for all the parts of God, for everybody?
Now that I recognize this social habit I need to break it or admit I am not really committed to conscious living.
So a new stand is born. This man will no longer participate in “they conversations.” And I will be explicit in this stand whenever necessary. If need be, I will leave a conversation. Hopefully, my stand will inspire some others to check their commitment to consciousness but that is not my motive. I am doing what I need to do, for me and my commitment to being a conscious person.