Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.
– William Blake
Though I have lived in this country for many years now, there are still many American expressions that I don’t understand. I remember trying to explain meditation to a young fellow who kept shaking his head and saying, “Man, I just don’t hear you.” In all innocence, I started over again a little louder. Finally it dawned on me what he really meant: “I just don’t want to hear you. I don’t like what you’re saying.”
This is what most of us do when there is disagreement. We carry around a pair of earplugs, and the minute somebody starts saying something we don’t like, we stuff them in our ears until he or she is through. Watch with some detachment the next time you find yourself quarreling with someone you love. It won’t look like a melodrama, but like a first-rate comedy – two people trying to reach an understanding by not listening to each other!
An effective way of dealing with a disagreement is simply to listen with complete attention, even if we don’t care for what the other person is saying. We are showing how our respect won’t waver no matter how vehemently we may disagree.