Longing For Community – Insights from the Wilderness #141

Longing For Community Are you longing for community and nurturing relationships with those around you?

Or like so many, do you tend to find yourself in conflict with those around you? Are you often at wits end trying to find solutions to the conflicts you seem to find yourself embroiled in with people you care about?

If so, it might mean that your primitive ego is creating conflict by unconsciously attempting to reduce the issues you have with others into simple either/or, right or wrong, solutions. Either/or thinking cannot create healthy relationships with others.

Resolving conflict and creating compassionate communities and healthy relationships with those around you requires a middlepath spirituality that embraces mutuality and the willingness to search for the wisdom and truths found on both sides of the middlepath—–and that includes the wisdom and truths contained in the other person’s point of view.

The Power of 1 + 1 = 2: You “And” The Other Person = Community

I read one time that if we want to understand how 1 + 1 = 2, then we need to understand the nature of the numbers 1 and 1——-we also need to understand the nature of the word “and”.

This simple statement, and the wisdom it contains, just might provide you with a way forward in your ability to reduce conflict in your life, and satisfy your longing to create more loving relationships and be part of a compassionate community.

The longing for community and friendship with others is a powerful human need; so let’s take a minute to unpack the wisdom contained in 1 + 1 = 2.

Understanding The Nature of 1 and 1

Understanding the nature of 1 and 1 means we have to both better understand 1 (ourselves), and learn to listen more carefully to the complexity that 1 (the other person) is attempting to convey to us.

In other words, what are the needs, emotions, and feelings creating the energy the other 1 is bringing into the relationship or conversation?

Until we fully understand where the other person is coming from, and they trust that we fully understand what they are trying to convey to us, a creative relationship with them will not be possible, and progress toward a creative solution that resolves any differences with them will not happen.

When you are in conflict with the other person, it’s best if this level of trust and understanding happens inside both individuals, but more often than not, if you are stuck in an either/or thinking process, the other person will continue to push their point of view regardless of how carefully you try to present your point of view.

The problem of course is that you are still trying to “explain” your point of view.

In other words, relationships work best when both 1 and 1 understand the needs, feelings, and emotions of the other, but when conflict is present, the wisdom contained in this concept only needs to be embraced by a single 1. In other words, “you” are the 1 that needs to understand “their” needs, feelings, and emotions.

Until the other 1 feels heard and fully understood, you will need to go back into listening mode until you fully understand the needs, emotions, and feelings of the other person. When they are certain that you really understand where they are coming from, the conflict with them will begin to soften and your relationship with them will begin to once again move forward.

Understanding The Nature Of The Word  “And”

To fully understand the nature of the word “and”, the key to healthy relationships with others, we need to think about a couple of simple realities.

Reality A – Our primitive ego loves simplistic either/or thinking. It likes things to be good or bad, right or wrong. Either/or thinking might have worked well in childhood, but unfortunately, the adult world is seldom that simple.

When we get stuck in conflict attempting to find a solution to an issue with another person, it often means the issue is more complex than can be solved by a simple either/or solution. Complex, gray or fuzzy issues tend to resist our primitive ego’s attempt to reduce solutions to the issue into simple either/or categories.

There are three basic problems with either/or thinking,

  • First, we are usually looking for the perfect solution. Unfortunately, perfection an illusion that can never be achieved.
  • Secondly, we are not willing to take the time to fully understand the emotions and needs on both side of the relationship. We lack the patience and the ability for the deep listening that’s needed to actually “hear” the other person.
  • Third, healthy relationships are rarely created by either/or thinking. Creative, healthy relationships tend to require the addition of mutuality, and new ways of looking at the world.

Reality B“Both/and” thinking requires a middlepath consciousness. This means we need to——-

  • drop our own need to be “right”,
  • learn how to embrace the truths and wisdom found on both sides of the relationship, and then
  • have the patience and courage to hold the creative tension found in the interiority of the relationship——-until a portal opens and a creative solution emerges that transcends and includes the worldview of both persons in the relationship.

I can hear what your thinking—–“But that won’t always work because sometimes the other 1 is too stubborn to hear my point of view”!

You might be right, but as I said above, if you can continue reflecting back the needs, feelings, and emotions of the other 1, and if you can keep reflecting back the wisdom and truths that you are hearing in the other 1’s position———over time you might begin to feel their defensive rigidity start to soften.

Our primitive ego does not like to be “wrong”. When the primitive ego of the other person assumes you are saying they’re wrong, they will get emotionally aggressive, and rigidly defensive. That is simple human nature. Don’t go there.


When the primitive ego of our inner-child is convinced that we are being heard and understood; and the truths and wisdom we are defending are not being criticized or labeled as “wrong”; only then can we open our thinking and begin looking for a creative solution to those issues that keep us apart. Only then can we open ourselves to the other persons point of view. Only then will our relationship with another person begin to grow into deep friendship.

When we understand the nature of 1 + 1, it’s not uncommon for both 1 + 1 to experience a middlepath portal opening that allows both persons in the relationship to move forward and create the compassionate community, and close friendships, they have been longing to experience—–to experience the reality that 1 + 1 can = 2——or more.

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