In Community: Listening
What a sweet experience: to feel heard. To feel that someone has opened up a space allowing you to say what’s on your heart. To know that they have assumed your intentions to be good. This is a major way we at UUCA can take tender care of each other at all times, and also in times such as this.
Funny thing, though, about other people’s intentions: they are hard to know in truth. They exist in other people’s minds, and other people’s minds are worlds unto themselves. Black boxes. Mysteries. There is even an intractable philosophical problem out there called “the problem of other minds.”
But for us, the implication is clear: to stay away from mindreading. To humbly accept our human limits. So often, we do try to mind read. Perhaps it’s because we feel out of control of a situation that matters to us. To wrest back control, we project some intention. And often, that intention is a negative one. It happens automatically, instinctively. Without checking in with someone, to clarify what their intention in fact had been, we can go on the attack. We assume the worst.
When was the last time you received an email, and in it, someone complained about something someone else did. What you hear about what that other person did outrages you! You can’t believe it! So what you do is assume the worst and spread the complaint around without even trying to find out what really happened and if the original complaint was even justified, in whole or in part.
We assume the worst, we react, and suddenly there’s a war of emails, or The City is on fire. Is this what we want? Is this how we’re going to care for each other in our community that seeks to be Beloved? It can’t just be up to our amazing and dedicated Lay Ministers to grow the warmth and the love in our community. It’s something every one of us can contribute to.
Let’s be Beloved.
Love and Courage,