I KNOW YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
Of course. Most of humankind suffers all their lives through poverty, hunger, lack of adequate shelter, violence, cruel treatment and oppression. War continues to be an acceptable mode of resolving the problems of or with governments, and in war atrocities are considered ‘collateral damage’ to be expected. A very small segment of our societies controls the resources of the Earth to maintain lives of unjustifiable and superfluous wealth without restraint. In doing so the environment is ravaged and all life, including our own is threatened by growing global warming. The news of the day intones horrors worldwide and in our own neighborhoods, which increases our anxiety and our suspicions and fears of others.
And yet. And yet every one of us wants the world to be better. We do not consider that those who call us their enemies and those we call our enemies all want the same thing. We only may have different theories about what is causing the problems we face.
Because we do not know each other. We think we do. We think the others are much simpler than they are. But everyone is much more complex than we know or consider. For us to know them and for the to know us, we would all have to listen to each other. Really listen long and seek to comprehend and understand each other.
Consider for a moment that almost all the problems of the human race are caused by ourselves. We have a few problems of disease and natural disasters, but they are practically nothing compared to what we are doing to each other and to the survival of life on this planet. If we all got together we could solve all theses problems, working with instead of against one another.
The greatest need for our lives, and for the health of all life on Earth, is to connect with others, to come together and listen to each other. Taking turns so that each is heard and as listeners we are not trying to further or defend our own beliefs, but are open to learn about the other, to understand how the other came to feel and think in the circumstances of his or her history.
We may have different tastes and different styles, but behind them we are very much alike. We all want to lead our lives in safety, in freedom from oppression and in peace, to have our needs met for food and warmth, for health, for belonging, for acceptance and appreciation, for satisfying curiosity and creativity, for play and fun, for happiness and well-being. As we examine those it should be apparent that every one of these things we are able to provide for everyone together.
You may find all this an over-simplification of our problems and their solution – yes, I think that to simplify is a good thing sometimes to activate us to make changes. This is why my life’s work is to make circles to connect people, to listen to them and demonstrate how to listen to each one supportively. That is the meaning I have discovered in my being here. Following ancient instructions of our elders we call this The Circle Way, and its tool we call Supportive Listening, to distinguish it from our normal listening modes.
The last chapter of my book is about The Circle Way and I will put it up on what is sent next from this website www.circleway.org. If you wish to get those mailings click ‘subscribe’ here on this site. It is, I hope, a fairly clear summary of that process which you might use in teaching others. Since Ellika and I began to make circles over 30 years ago they have grown in many countries with many people taking leadership and letting me know of their achievements. I am glad when any of you connect with me and tell me how you are doing with this.