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Creating Social Serenity (or My Spiritual Mission)

worldIndividually, serenity must be internal to the individual, but in society serenity must be among individuals. We have to think about how we can create serenity together. The process inside us is similar to the process among us, but primarily it is about becoming whole, the fourth of my list of four aspects of Practicing Serenity (see post link below). Socially, we must adopt behavior that brings our society into greater wholeness. It is the way we can take the serenity within us and shape serenity among us.

Creating Serenity Through Support

Mutual inclusion creates the support required for social serenity. If one side is inclusive and supportive the other side must be as well. Otherwise, there isn’t serenity. It is asinine for someone to complain about being judged, marginalized or diminished in any way if that someone already does the same to others. Such a person doesn’t include others. After all, there can’t be complete social serenity if some are inclusive while others act elitist. It only destroys the potential serenity that a truly supportive group can achieve.

Inclusiveness may seem a slippery ill-defined slope, but there is a predictable logic. Lying to surprise someone with a gift is absolutely inclusive, as the liar is trying to carefully create a beneficial experience and thus include (or support) someone. Lying to avoid adhering to an agreement or to blatantly take advantage of trust that ultimately diminishes another is not inclusive. Courtesy is inclusive. Using technicality to avoid responsibility is not inclusive. The list of comparisons goes on, but the basic idea is acting supportively as much as possible.

Creating Serenity with Tolerance

Tolerance is the “agree to disagree” category of serenity and inclusivity. People may not feel like actively supporting one another, but they can accept differences, see that such differences are essentially harmless and create space for those differences. Usually, tolerance addresses difference in taste or manner. People like different things about life, and there’s no way to have agreement when people experience so much in different ways. However, as anyone who’s paid attention to human rights knows, tolerance may be the way people start showing more support when society casts people in demeaning light. Inclusivity by tolerance means letting people have space to have their way to allow everyone to have equal access to their rights in practice.

Acknowledging Problems

We can only achieve inclusivity if we acknowledge problems as people report them. We can affirm people’s feelings even if we don’t agree with their facts. This goes a lot further than only arguing over the details that wedge everyone apart. The goal with acknowledgment is to simultaneously remain open while also seeking clarity for whomever needs it. If you want a detailed method for handling problems in the most inclusive way possible, consider reading Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High (Patterson, et al) – see link below.

Seeking Equivalence

People are different enough that not every fair solution can be exactly equal. That means when we solve problems for a lot of people we need to find equivalent solutions not equal solutions. Sometimes, it’s different physical chemistry that changes what will work to solve the same physical problem for people. Sometimes, it’s about different outlooks on life that shape experiences to become different for people. No matter what creates differences and problems, we can create equivalent solutions.

Maintaining Commitment

It’s important that we remain committed to achieving serenity through all the trials of growth and learning that everyone must experience. We can’t control people, nor can we expect anyone to be born so perfect they don’t need to learn anything the hard way. There are people who show promise, but everyone has to work to become a whole person. It is only when we acknowledge and commit to the growth process that we can have compassion for everyone else in their struggle to become whole and achieve inclusion.

See the Crucial Conversations book on Amazon.com

Read the Practicing Serenity post

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The Problem of an Open Mind – In three weeks on Sunday 11/2 at 10 a.m.

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Tuning In to Nature’s Signals – next Sunday at 10 a.m.