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Jul. 26th, 2007 @ 01:15 pm The Balm of Agreeing to Disagree
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Recently I had the honor of agreeing to disagree with a wise and honorable person. I found the experience to be both healing and comforting. The resolution found in this agreeable misalignment of perception brought some peace to my troubled soul.

The root of the issue was a past event in which there was much turmoil. Actions were taken to move all involved forward to a place of possible healing. I was one of those involved. A gap existed in communication between myself and my elder friend. This gap persisted for months, with my trying to discern motivation and cause from a place of unknowing. Finally I spoke my mind, placing the caveat that what I said was a self-skewed impression of the events. In time my elder returned their thoughts. They did not ring equal to mine. Thankfully I am not responding with more anger and despair. I am so sick of these sapping emotions. Instead I was able to know that my elder, wise and deeply committed to their path, merely saw the events in a different light. They spoke with integrity. Their feedback removed the questions of doubt regarding motivation and imperfect resolution. I knew where my friend stood and found peace in that.

I do not find this odd. I have an incredibly insightful LJ friend who I disagree with often. His insights into the world offer views that I cannot see. While his view of the world has a disconnect from my reality, I know he speaks with integrity and honesty. When I shift my perception just so, stretching to see what he already knows, I more often than not come to a tacit agreement with him. I just agree to disagree when the gap persists. Because of this, I look forward to any writings that he may share.

What is the power in this form of agreeing disagreement? I believe that agreeing to disagree creates a tension in which dialogue still exists. An openness to concede that another is being truthful to themselves leaves a door open to better understanding their position. No person is right all the time. Life forms grooves into which we predicatively walk, complacent to a degree with our understanding of the world. Fortunately there are those in the world who challenge the path well worn. They hold the truths and wisdom of the world that we deny ourselves. Their truth is cloaked in shadow. It takes both an open heart and mind to look into the teeth of an integrous opponent, knowing that they hold their own beliefs as tightly as we hold our own. The interaction that follows holds separate paths leading to the same peace.

The first path is that of realizing a place of which we are blind or misguided. By no fault of our own, if by every good intention, that the realities of the world can become fixed and in stasis. The place of agreeing to disagree opens possibilities of seeing an alternative view of the world. It may not be the right view, but the revelation may show that our current view is not the most right either. The truth lays somewhere in-between. Communication of this kind fosters further insight. The results become greater than those things put into it: the disagreeable place of the other and our fixed imperfect place. There is incredible wisdom in these discernments.

The second path is to see that the person and ourselves are just not seeing eye to eye. Both are strongly set in their integrity, knowing that they have the discernment of the moment. There is no shame in this. Indeed, there is not a need for malice either, as the disagreement is based on hard held convictions and not on a personal grudge borne of ill will. Greater wisdom may not be attained and the outcome does not dissuade either person from their existing beliefs. However, a peace of sorts exists as each person is disarmed of the need to convince or convict the other.

Most of the time there is a combination of the two paths when we honestly agree to disagree. Points are begrudgely given while irrevocable positions are guarded. The end result is a measure of respect. I believe that the ability to agree to disagree is not possible when respect is absent. So, it is with the deepest respect that I bow to my elder, seeing their view and honoring their position. I give on some points and staunchly defend others. Perhaps further discussions will lessen this need to disagree. Even if this does not happen, I still love and honor my elder for their place in my life.
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Shaman - Sun