7 Week Study Program for
"The Bond"

By Lynne McTaggart


WEEK FOUR
Talk for Speakers
Study Group Material



Week Four Message for Speakers

From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: A Simple Change of Perspective Unites People of All Beliefs

Preparation: Chapter 10 of The Bond

SUMMARY:
We like people who are just like we are—who share our own values, our attitudes, our personalities and even our emotional dispositions — and we tend to conflict most with people who are not like us. The key to a successful relationship with anyone is to conceive of the relationship itself as a ‘thing in itself” and to focus on the ‘space in between” — the glue that holds it together. Once we view ourselves as a part of a bigger whole, we begin to act differently toward each other. By removing a self-serving aim from the relationship, we stop fighting nature and surrender to our natural impulse toward holism. We can easily embrace difference within that larger definition of connection.

This sermon can be centered around the work of Orland Bishop, who is teaching members of rival gangs in Los Angeles to work together by changing their perspective on what a relationship is for and finding their common humanity by learning to share deeply and from the heart.

FULL TEXT:

This sermon centers on how we can connect with people of all religions, beliefs and ethnic backgrounds through a simple change of perspective – from ‘me’ to ‘we’.

Our individual relationships have a lot to do with how we see ourselves in relation to rest of the world. Typically, we like people who are just like we are—who share our own values, our attitudes, our personalities and even our emotional dispositions — and we tend to conflict most with people who are not like us.

But this mindset runs counter to our deeper biological experience of relationships. We are affected by the feelings, actions and thoughts of all others, and they in turn are affected by us, even if we have nothing in common. As The Bond demonstrates, we are constantly attuned to all other human beings, and can connect with them once we move beyond a simple clustering of like with like to find the deeper connection that is always present in any relationship.

Once we view ourselves as a part of a bigger whole, we begin to act differently toward each other. When we can learn to change our perspective, and offer ourselves as a vehicle of service to the connection, we can easily find the deeper Bond always present and embrace difference within that larger definition of connection. The key to a successful relationship with anyone is to conceive of the relationship as a ‘thing in itself” and to focus on the ‘space in between” — the glue that holds it together.

This sermon may be centered around the work of Orland Bishop, who is teaching members of rival gangs in Los Angeles to work together by changing their perspective on what a relationship is for and finding their common humanity by learning to share deeply and from the heart (Study Guide: chapter 10 of The Bond).

Bishop teaches the African concept of ubuntu — which, from its literal meaning “I am because you are,” suggests that, as co-creators of each other — both observer and observed — we have a commitment to provide to the other what is needed at that moment – whether food, water, or the deepest level of support.

Bishop invites the young men to engage in indaba, which is loosely translated as “deep talk,” moving past superficiality to the deepest truth of who you are and what you dream for. When you share this deeply, as he suggests, you surrender to your natural impulse to merge together and you find the common ground of the space between you – the place of your common humanity.

The story of the pro-life and pro-choice activists in Cambridge, Massachusetts in chapter 10 offers a powerful illustration of how this new way of speaking and listening can overcome polarization, helping the staunchest of enemies to become close friends.

Furthermore, the story of the former member of the Hitler youth movement and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor in the same chapter illustrates how sharing deeply also helps with forgiveness and re-establishes connection.




 

Week Four Lesson for Study Groups

From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: A Slight Shift of Perception Transforms Relationships and Promotes Unity

Reading guide: Chapters 9 and 10 of The Bond.

We like people who are just like we are —who share our own values, our attitudes, our personalities and even our emotional dispositions — and we tend to conflict most with people who are not like us. This tendency to cluster with people who are most like we are only serves to divide us from others by reinforcing our individuality, our sense that our way is the best.

Once we view ourselves as a part of a bigger whole, we begin to act differently toward each other. When we can learn to change our perspective, and offer ourselves as a vehicle of service to the connection, we can easily find the deeper Bond always present and embrace difference within that larger definition of connection.

This week we’ll concentrate on learning some relating skills that will enable you offer yourself as a vehicle of service to the pure experience of connection without judgment or prejudice shaped by your thoughts.



Lesson Goal: To explore techniques of relating that allow you to make deep connections with anyone – even those who disagree with everything you stand for.

Lesson Exercise: To practice the power of deep truth and candid disclosure in order to promote closeness and unity. During this type of deep sharing, the pull of wholeness builds trust and loosens attachment to entrenched positions.

Discussion Points:

• How does our Western way of promoting the individual block us from seeing another version of reality? What can survivors of the 2004 Tsunami can teach us about taking a more holistic view of our actions?
Challenge: Think of some of your actions and how they impact across your community.

• Discuss the art of sawubona and what it means to say to someone else, ‘we see you.’
Challenge: Divide into pairs and repeat ‘We see you’ and reply with ‘We see you, too.’ At that moment, vow to do whatever you can to allow your partner to thrive. How does that change your view of the relationship?

• What does the author Lynne McTaggart mean by ‘aerial vision’?
Challenge: Think of a time when you and another person vehemently disagreed on something. What was their version of reality and your version, and what is the ‘aerial’ truth of both sides?

• Discuss the art of dialogue, how it differs from ordinary discussion, and how it overcame polarization among the pro-life and pro-choice activists in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Challenge: Discuss some of the assumptions you make about your version of what’s ‘real.’ How much of it is based on cultural conditioning and belief?

• Why is deep sharing so powerful in relationships? How does it help with forgiveness and re-establishing connection, as it did with a former member of the Hitler youth movement and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor?
Challenge: Divide into pairs and practice sharing deeply about things you really care about. What do you notice about how you feel about the other person?

Weekly Exercise: In your group, practice having a dialogue about a contentious subject (abortion, the Tea Party, gun control, etc). Remember the rules:
• Don’t reach a decision or have a debate
• Take turns speaking – don’t monologue
• Be alert to your own reactions when something is said you don’t agree with
• Be fully present
• Don’t judge