Using a person to define reality
Using a person to define fairness
Using a person to define reality. That person is you. You must be aware of a situation from several perspectives. Very few situations are wrapped around one idea or one condition. You must practice seeing situations using empathy as an interpreter and compassion to create oneness. This may be difficult in our culture today – difficult in that compassion appears to open the door to personal vulnerability; difficult in that you will not be understood by those who must also see the same realities; difficult in that your habits and opinions are ingrained in you.
To help loosen your empathy and compassion as tools in decision making, here is a training technique for you to try: Walk around your neighborhood. The walk will be good for you on its own merit. Look for someone of any age, sex, race, or circumstance to whom you can give a helping hand – no matter how small or large your help may be. It may only be a sentence or two to acknowledge neighborliness. A popular term for this is “passing it forward.” Someone helps a person; that person helps another person, etc. This training exercise makes you focus on the situation of other people rather than simply people-watching. You are the lesser, personal reality; the others are the greater reality. Once you find a person who may need help, quickly determine how you will help that person and give a moment’s thought to whether you are improving the situation or just butting in. The object is to have compassion and take action, not, as the old boy scout story goes, help an old lady across the street whether or not she needs to cross the street.
Sometimes you may have to walk for a long time but if you perform this training exercise regularly, you will find some situations where you can help even if the other person is not present. For example, repacking a trash can on the curb after raccoons have dumped it. Further, you will be amazed how quickly your neighborhood comes to know you personally. You are a neighborhood asset. You will notice others passing it forward. You have changed the neighborhood gestalt! Remember to continue honing your empathy and compassion skills when making decisions of any kind.
Using a person to define fairness. The key to fairness is not only using empathy and compassion but actually understanding the best process for reconciling personal and greater situations. Besides your own participation, you will need one or more other persons with whom you perceive conflicting realities. “Conflicting” does not necessarily mean argumentative. One can have conflict over which restaurant to visit. Remember that your conflict is the lesser reality. Consider this another training exercise; do not try to right the wrongs of the world at first try. Many will take a mediation/arbitration approach to define fairness. This may work from time to time but mitigation without compassion prevents reconciling situations and achieving oneness.
Often, a profession lends itself to managing only with the personal reality of the individual. As an example, a school principal is autonomous and tends to become autocratic. Organizational and educational edicts may be issued without considering the greater reality that may be affected by these edicts, that is, the greater reality of the teachers, students and parents. A principal may move students or educational policies around in a manner that reflects efficiency from the principal’s point of view but when applied, the move may be unfair to teachers or students. Fairness is an attitude that should always be present in one’s mindset. It is the attitude that kick starts a search for a greater reality.
You will need a bit of social skill to define fairness. Control of the process is important. To identify a few procedural rules, let’s use the earlier example of the employer whose workforce is too expensive:
- Know your own feelings about your situation and what causes those feelings.
- Engage other persons in a controlled way. If the employer calls a sudden meeting of all the employees, the chances are good that the process for defining fairness will collapse under the weight of anxiety and, because there are many more employees, the tool of equality will yield to mob responses. It may be better for the employer to maintain control of the process by talking with a few trusted employees one-on-one so they are aware of your personal reality and, importantly, that you want to reconcile by including the greater reality of the employees. These few will carry the message to the others for you thereby preventing a confrontation and further, the employees will begin their own processing of rule 1. If you have been honing your compassion on regular walks, you will sense the right way to do things in a compassionate way.
- How rule 3 plays out depends on how the employer has managed the employees. If the employer has been fair in the past, rule 3 is almost automatic. If there is personality conflict or any signs of disrespect, rule 3 can become nasty. Seek feedback from those few trusted employees. Seeking to sharpen your compassionate choices, ask about the mood of the employees. Very important to the process at this point is to talk about fair solutions with the trusted employees; you must build empathy in them for your situation even though yours is the personal reality.
- Rule 4 is the end game. The employer will prepare an agenda – again with the input of the trusted few. The agenda should be a discussion of solutions, not problems. It is a meeting focused on what is fair. It’s a coming together of understanding what ‘fair’ means, which can be painful even if fair. Compassion should be active in everyone’s mind. Just as the walks produced positive resolution, the employer is in a position to share compassion with the employees.
No question at this time. Second installment of Person Driven Oneness forthcoming. In the meantime, keep walking; perhaps drive around to find places where you can use your personal reality to resolve a few greater realities. Here’s a simple one: ring the bell for the Salvation army.