Taking the Other Person’s Point of View

One of the most extraordinary principles of life is that the best way to convince another of your position on a matter is to take theirs! This mind twisting truth is no mere concept, but a lived experience that conscious individuals have had over time. Here is a recent illustration:

Over the last six months, colleagues and I have had discussions about a potential expert system for the Internet. While several of us had developed a knowledge of human consciousness over the years, a newer partner had not yet had such experiences. Interestingly, when we tried to communicate that knowledge to our friend, it did not stick.

Recently that partner contacted me asking for help in developing an initial round of introductory materials for the site. In order to express ourselves, we first needed to know what the purpose of the expert system site was, as well include the benefits users would derive from using it. Since we had not come to a consensus on what this was over the past half year, coming up with that introductory statement for the public seemed to require us to revisit that exhaustive process again, something I was not looking forward to.

However, rather than focus on our difference, I decided to simply embrace the mini project. In particular, I decided that rather than worry about revisiting an unresolved issue, I would simply take up whatever my colleague had in mind. Not only did I accept his apparent lesser conception of the system, but the materials I would develop would reflect that view. Thus, my strategy was not to impose my own position, but to embrace my partner’s in full.

When we then had our first collaborative discussion, interesting things quickly started happening. First, he suggested that I include several of my articles at this introductory site. Though I struggled at first to come up with something appropriate, I finally thought of a relevant article. Then I developed a small summary of the theme for the article, indicating how this principle would be incorporated in our future expert system. But what was most remarkable was that the partner and I began to have a very stimulating discussion about that subject. In fact, he began to see the overwhelming benefit of the principle to the point where he was expressing unbridled, gushing enthusiasm for the idea! Listening to his response, I was dumbstruck by his interest and passion. After all, this was the sort of feature he seemed unable grasp in the past; and now he had suddenly become its advocate and champion! Needless to say, I was startled by this turn of events.

Reflecting on the incident, it was clear that because I was opened to his conception of the system, I opened the doors of possibility that enabled him to begin to embrace an important part of mine. By taking the other person’s point of view, I opened the doors to a wider sphere, attracting good fortune for myself and my associate. By moving away from ego, including the need to impose, I attracted that which I was unable to garner before -- his full interest and enthusiasm on a once elusive principle. Through this pretzel logic of the Infinite, I had begun to overcome a conundrum and problem of the past, while opening the door further to an exciting and creative future.

Finally, when we take another person’s point of view, we are not only doing the right thing, but we are engaging in a spiritual act, as we-

--shut down the mind and open to Truth that lies beyond our narrow perception.

--recognize that in every truth, the opposite is also true.

--move from our own separateness and distance from the other person to harmony with that individual.

--value the welfare of another above and beyond our own.

Deep knowledge, truth, harmony, oneness, and self-givingness are various expression of the spirit that comes from embracing another’s viewpoint. Moreover, when we make that harmonic effort, miraculous-like conditions suddenly blossom, reflecting the phenomenon of “life response” in action.  

--Roy Posner 13:52, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

See also other Case Studies on Life Response



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