Conflict and crisis, ancient wisdom tells us, brings to our doorstep both (1) danger and (2) opportunity.
The choice is ours to (1) persist in perilous, obsolete ways or (2) enter into dialogue to discover new opportunities together.
Abraham and Opportunity
In ancient times, there was a covenant -- a promise. If Abraham would leave the old, he'd become the seed of a great nation. And there were conditions to be fulfilled -- detach from what was less than the highest.
Our ancestor, Abraham, had the faith and courage to lead his people out of the old, into a new experience and higher social intelligence -- out of Ur, idol worship, greed, and alienation, and toward a new place, a land of milk and honey for all.
Abraham faithfully let go of his precious sons, Ishmael and Isaac, for the sake of a higher good. He courageously risked slaying his beloved Isaac. His dear Ishmael was to walk out of his father's sight and life, only to be temporarily reunited arm-in-arm with his brother, Isaac, at the moment of their father's funeral. Today, history has brought the sons and daughters of Abraham back to the land that birthed them. There is danger; and there is a rich opportunity to discover a creative life together.
What courage is required to avert danger?
We must adopt the courage to initiate, to create opportunity, to move into the new experience and "land" of relationship and dialogue -- to once again invite one another into our tents. And the courage to surrender to stillness, listening, and openness, to be receptive to new insights and ideas for our shared future.
What is Dialogue?
It is a balance of advocacy and inquiry.
Advocacy is reasoning with supportive data.
Inquiry is suspension of reason and exposing your mental models and heart,
giving the other person a "window to your reasoning" and to your humanity.
is an exchange of ideas and experiences
that is so active, effective, and highly charged that it
leaves none of the participants unchanged.
means learning to suspend one's opinions and judgments
in order to
truly listen to one another.
requires staying in the dialogue,
even when one's closely held beliefs are challenged.
requires all participants to contribute from where they are -- even half-formed ideas.
can result in divergent views converging,
discovering a new social intelligence.
New Social Intelligence
Trialogue is the true meeting of persons, faithful and open to the presence of a higher social intelligence, "a way through," a greater reality of the world into which we are born. It is an event that transcends language and finds, as it is entered into, expression in openness and love. Trialogue, as introduced by British scholar, Josef Boehle, is a way to cooperation and community, in our precious diversity. It is fundamental to human development, and to survival itself.
You can read more about communication, dedication, and Dialogue Guidelines: Changing Confrontation to Cooperation.
Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group, 1448 Cedarwood Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403
Voice: 650-574-8303 — Fax: 650-573-1217 — E-mail: LTRAUBMAN@igc.org
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