A Key to Healing Our Divide

What we think we know could block us from having compassion for those who think differently
November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

The country I live in has a pretty bitter divide between many of its people, and I’ll admit that it often feels hopeless to me.

I’m sure those from other countries can see a similar divide there as well: People judging each other, angry and fearful, feeling very little understanding and compassion.

We’re all doing it and blaming the other side.

So what can we do to heal this divide?

For me, the answer lies in compassion. Compassion for others in our country, and in the world, who are suffering. Compassion for our neighbors, for people who have different views, for people who are afraid and who just want a good life. Compassion for ourselves as we try to make our way through a difficult situation.

But compassion is difficult to cultivate right now, so just telling people to have compassion doesn’t work. The problem is that our views about who is right and wrong are getting in the way of compassion and healing the divide.

So the real key to this is in setting aside our views and setting aside being right. To do this, we need to let go of what we think we know.

It’s only when we let go of what we think we know that we can be curious about the other side. Try to understand why they do what they do, why they feel the way they feel. Try to step into their world, and get them.

When we let go of our knowing and step into not knowing, we can really see their side and feel compassion for them.

Once we do that, the compassion can come and the healing can begin.

Set aside what we think we know.

Be open to not knowing how things should be. Open to curiosity about their side.

Open to feeling compassion for what they’re going through.

Let’s connect with each other, and come together.

Leo Babauta is the author of six books, the writer of Zen Habits, a blog with over 2 million subscribers, and the creator of several online programs to help you master your habits. Visit ZenHabits.net