Outside my window, the rain that accompanies deafening thunderclaps is pelting the pavement. These “shouts” from nature are mighty sounds that pique our awareness and our response to take cover somewhere safe. Mother Nature has a simple formula, the more she shouts, the more we humans need to pay attention. I wondered, does this simple listening formula also apply for human-to-human interaction? Do you listen more readily to a shout or a whisper?
Recent conversations within my circles of friends have me pondering this polarity of shouting and whispering. In one such circle, our discussion defined the visible polarity in society as an evolutionary “splitting of human consciousness” in two directions — fearmongering in the form of populace right-wing politics, etc. versus loving kindness as espoused by yogis and other spiritualists. One is left wondering whether we have the wear-with-all to unify such divergent views into a meaningful shared vision for humanity.
In a second and possibly more pragmatic circle, our dialogue centred around the psycho-social aspect of what the human mind and heart are willing and able to absorb. I found myself agreeing that over time a gentle whisper is much more easily heard and internalized than a constant, passionate, louder outpouring. That is to say if our opinion is only vehement proclamations, it begins to feel like an assault or sense of righteousness meant to coerce agreement. However, this adage also came to mind — the squeaky wheel gets the grease — implying someone who complains loudly or shouts over another is more likely to receive attention and help. This adage has certainly been seen as a reason for the rising popularity of right-wing governance on the global political landscape.
Whether you lean toward the esoteric or pragmatic views offered above, both perspectives seem to recognize the potential antagonism inherent in polarization. I then wondered, can we agree that polarized views and the accompanying chaos offer us the opportunity to innovate and evolve our thinking? Creativity always seems to follow confusion, uncertainty and chaos. Thus, we create something new out the previously murky mess. From a human life-cycle perspective, the developmental stages of adolescence and mid-life tend to be fraught with inner conflict arising from polarized views. Necessarily, these stages are often viewed as times of identity transformation.
To put all of this in some kind of perspective, my friend David, reminded us through the quote below that we have collectively been here before.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…
Charles Dickens, 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities
What I am “taking home” from these inspirational discussions are these hope-filled reminders:
• Polarity is not a problem but rather an opportunity to seek a new way.
• Chaos and confusion precede creation.
• When we use our “inside voice”, then whispers of inspiration (intuition and innovation) can be heard and truth can be expressed.
In 2001, I wrote the poem below that reflects these sentiments.
Whisper of Inspiration
When you touched my hand, I
Heard a voice
Inside my head
Speak . . .
Pass not by
Regret your choice.
Open your heart.
Fear not what you have called forth.
Not to my fear but my
Peace resides here
Imprinting my soul with joy.
Rarer than this
And equally treasured, your heart
In to me you see, and though we’ve
Only just begun,
Now our souls dance in unity.
What whispers of inspiration are your hearing?
(Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)