Monday, November 19, 2012

Acknowledging Wholeness

When we walk around feeling lonely and disconnected our perceptions are misaligned with reality. When we treat others poorly or with even disregard we are blind to the connection that lies between us and the missed opportunity to acknowledge that connection. When we sling arrows of hatred and discontent towards our fellow human beings we trample on the very essence of that connection and the hope for peace in our future. It is okay to point out ideas and behaviors that are not desirable or fair or wholesome. But we must not personally attack our fellows, for when we do we stall our collective efforts to foster peace and our momentum in creating a better future.   

Orland Bishop, who works to foster peace among some of the most violent gangs populations in the US, traveled to Africa and studied the Zulu tribe. The Zulu consider themselves a collective, and perceive themselves as "we" versus a group of "I's." This acknowledgement of we "brings us into a relational space - a shared space- with another and within the community." "This shared space is seen as a sanctuary where each person can be seen, heard and understood." In these moments of sanctuary we can discover "shared meaning" and find our common humanity. 

If we can acknowledge that there is a connection, a bond between us, we can begin to see each other differently. If we can perceive the "quality of each other" (Bishop) we can begin to allow, create and acknowledge moments of connection. This is the "moments in the bonds where difference doesn't matter." Once we can acknowledge the unity in and between ourselves and everyone else and everything else on the planet, we begin to see, feel and behave differently. "By removing a self-serving aim from the relationship, we stop fighting nature and surrender to our natural impulse toward holism." (McTaggert, The Bond)

This does not mean that we will always agree with each other. This does not mean that it will always be easy. But if we can begin to acknowledge that there is a connection, a shared space, a potential sanctuary between us that binds us, we can begin to allow and reserve those spaces for true connection. As we do this, we are on our way to discovering peace in ourselves and in our world.

Orland Bishop, The ShadeTree Foundation (

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