The gong struck, and the New Year ushered us into what? The answer to this question will appear as we move further into a year that promises to be a challenge for us all. It is my personal belief that this year will test our methods of communication by bringing us face to face with the double talk that we speak, which ignites chaotic confusion and hinders our ability to communicate with each other.
By communication, I don’t mean the ability to speak the same language. Communication goes much deeper than opening our mouths and letting our words become sentences that may or may not have a meaning, which could notate themselves into the annals of time. True communication begins on an invisible level of acceptance by acknowledging that the person speaking has something to say, and being polite enough to concentrate on what he or she is saying instead of thinking about our rebuttal.
Music, for example, is considered a universal language. It has an amazing effect upon people. It transmits a message that an audience understands, independent of the native language of the musician, and it moves beyond those spoken language barriers into the hearts of the people. Perhaps this is why Ludwig Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Frederic Handel, Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, Luciano Pavarotti, and many other musicians broke down cultural barriers and burned the mistrust and doubt away that appeared among the ethnicities. Today, their music still change hearts and unite people from every culture. Oh, that our own speech were so simple to transmit to the hearts as music.
If the ability to move forward depends on our ability to communicate, then we need to develop the discipline to listen before speaking and acting upon what we think we have heard. It entails accepting cultural diversity as we open our hearts and ears and become a willing partner to change. True communication demands diversification. If we are to live peacefully on our globe as human beings, there is no way around the recognition and embracement of our differences. Just as in music, we have to put our petty quarrels and our self-righteousness aside and begin to listen actively to each other. It is a fact that no one nation, culture or person will ever agree about all things at all times, but if the spirit of acceptance exists, a way will be found by the people for people to co-exist in harmony.
We have left the harbor and have begun to master the water ahead. We don’t need diplomacy, but the willingness to speak with honesty and respect to each other. We need to end the double talk and say what we mean and have the courage to do what we have said we will do.
Let us hope that as we move through the year, taking each day as it comes, we are willing to take the initiative to communicate truthfully and openly with the people we meet. Only then will a giant step towards acceptance and diversification be achieved.
“Do you think we have chance, Prophet?” The Child asked.
“Sure, there’s always a chance, Child,” the Prophet said. “It has nothing to do with chance.”
“Then what do we have to do to make it happen?” The Child asked.
“My dear child, you can hope that the people began to grasp a tiny dot of what you see?”
“A tiny dot, Prophet?”
“Yes, just a tiny dot, Child,” the Prophet replied. “It only takes a small dot, as big as the dot over the i, and you’ll see communication at work.”
The child twirled upon the ocean, and she naively jumped for joy, thinking the solution easy to implement. The brilliance of her joy lit up the water beneath her feet. The Prophet stood there observing her. He did not have the heart to tell her that the path ahead was much more difficult than she thought.