I've been thinking a good deal these days about how to counteract the increasing sense of tribalism in our country and culture. It is all too easy to fall into it ourselves since we're so surrounded by such attitudes daily. It's too easy to hang out with those who think and feel as we do and to not listen to those who differ. It's easy to disregard viewpoints and people who don't agree with us. But that doesn't make us stronger and healthier. It doesn't make us better people, and it most definitely doesn't move this country forward.
I just read something that Henry David Thoreau said, and it really resonated: "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others' eyes for an instant?"
A miracle, he calls it! Yes, that really is a miracle. If I stop and look through the eyes of the other and see the world from that perspective, I will have a deeper understanding, not only of that person but undoubtedly also of myself—and perhaps of the entire universe. It's all in my attitude—and can make such a difference. I need to listen to those who differ from me.
I'm often struck by the term "Namaste" we say at the end of every yoga class I take. It's a beautiful and meaningful word. It means something like "the divine in me acknowledges the divine in you."
What if we approached everyone we met with such an attitude? What if we acknowledged the good in each person rather than approaching others with suspicion or even hatred? What if we took time to see the world through their eyes—even for just an instant, as Thoreau suggested?