If we are to build a vibrant, sustainable home for ourselves on this planet, we’re going to need to learn quickly and learn from each other. No one of us has all the answers. The pieces of the puzzle are scattered throughout our human family.
Indigenous peoples have vital wisdom for our successful future on this planet. Science and technology offer valuable tools. Urban people and rural people both have important contributions to make. We all have a piece of the answer. It’s by coming together and learning together that we’ll find our path.
And one of the most powerful (and overlooked) forces in the learning process is love. Love is a key element in consultation:
The first condition (of consultation) is absolute love and harmony amongst the members… for they are the waves of one sea, the drops of one river, the stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun, the trees of one orchard, the flowers of one garden. The second condition: They must when coming together turn their faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of Glory. ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Think about a time when you were in a group where everyone was competing, trying to out-do one another, tearing others down to make themselves look good. Not very pleasant, is it? And probably not a lot got done. Creativity and learning wither in such an environment.
Now think of a group where there’s genuine regard and respect among the members. Each individual has unique talents and skills and feels valued and encouraged to develop those talents:
Someone has an artistic flair.
Someone nails the details.
Someone else has an eye to the future and plans and strategizes.
Another person dreams up new approaches, new ideas, new ways of doing things.
Someone else looks back and remembers what worked before and what didn’t.
No one tries to make everyone else think like they do. Each perspective is incredibly valuable, so the whole group listens as each person speaks.
Which group would you rather work in? Which group will learn faster? Which group will come up with better solutions?
This is the power of love—when we embrace our differences and value them, then, together, we can put them to work for a common goal.
And that’s the second part of this process of learning together…
Love inspires us to reach beyond ourselves. Whether it’s love for an individual, for humanity or love for the Divine, when we love, we choose to step beyond our own wants and needs and tend to the needs of others.
In doing so, we open up whole worlds of possibilities. We release potential within ourselves, within the other person and within the group as a whole. New possibilities emerge. Seemingly impossible roadblocks suddenly don’t seem so insurmountable. Solutions appear where there were just dead ends before. Obstacles become stepping stones.
Love is not just a “nice to have”; it’s the light that leads the way, the oil that makes the parts move smoothly, the energy that fuels progress. Here are a couple of stories that illustrate this:
The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire. ~ Tielhard de Chardin
Learn more about consultation
Consultation as a Tool for Building Community
What Does Love Have to Do with Learning Together?
Building Community From the Inside Out
Express Your View and Let It Go
Consultation is a form of collective decision making that gathers diverse viewpoints in order to chart a wise course of action. It allows a group to look at a problem from all sides and build consensus on the best solution for all involved.