How can we come to see the similarities instead of the differences? How do we figure out a way to understand that we are all seeking the same thing — safety and connection — and that it’s possible for us to coexist and find similarities, even if we really are polar opposites in terms of world views, beliefs, etc.?

Many years ago, my teacher Ted had me do an exercise where he made a scale on the floor, a ruler of sorts labeled one through ten. He then mentioned words and asked me to stand on the spot where I identified zero being the lowest and ten being the highest.

Some of the words he said included color, race, age, psychosis, and depression.

The key was to acknowledge the racist, ageist, etc. within each and every one of us. Additionally, the exercise helped us identify the commonality. For example, we all hear voices; they aren’t auditory hallucinations, yet they are voices all the same. We all have felt discriminated against. We have all experienced difficult circumstances and the accompanying sadness.

For me, the key is to identify my own polarity, my own light and darkness, my potential for both good and evil, and to empathize with that in others.

To do that, we must first find common ground. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in fiercely protecting my loved ones. I live by the commandment in the Torah that states: if someone is coming to kill you, get up and kill them first.

Yet I also know that the pie is big enough that peaceful coexistence is possible. My issue is, I don’t always know how to make that happen. Any ideas?

This week, I’m going to seek ways to develop empathy for those who disagree with me. I’m going to work on finding love and empathy for what I call my opposition — whether that be internal or external.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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