It’s strange that when we discuss the benefits of diversity and inclusion, we talk about the material benefit of including diverse views so that we can magnify strategic thinking that will result in leveraging multiple, multi-cultural ideas for capital gains, but we don’t talk about the power that inclusion has to manifest peace. Perhaps we take it for granted that peace is impossible so instead we focus on the pecuniary benefit of including under-represented voices in a the same conversation that has long excluded them.
Inclusion for the sake of continuing the same refrain of exclusivity, profit over purpose, can be problematic.
Embracing differences does not only invite new voices but also the prospect of entering a new dialogue of love and respect for everyone: a peace that surpasses material benefits. Peace is one of the most important goals of inclusion, and no amount of money can buy it. Peace requires us to put aside our egos and abandon our pride and listen. Only through listening can we learn to respect those with differences; different opinions, different habits, different truths, and different perspectives.
Regardless of how we see the world, peace requires us to start within the compassionate realm of listening,
what some call . . . . deep listening.
In the ancient text, Paul says “[m]ake every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
This is why I love the listening meditation, where you partner with someone and just listen to what they have to say.
The more I listen, the more I realize that we are no different than one another.
On that common ground of similarities, we plant lasting seeds of success.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that we are all suffering.
When someone is lashing out from anger or resentment
or attacking us through hatred and fear,
it is because they are suffering.
It is difficult to find the common realm of peace when we are in conflict.
Yet, conflict is an amazing opportunity for growth –
not only in valuing our differences but in understanding the value of peace.
The bond of peace requires “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”
but most of all, it requires love.
Colossians 3:12-14 says “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
In unity, “the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love, as
each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16)
Unity starts with a single breath.
And unity continues with a single awareness.
In this awareness, there is no worry, or stress, or strife,
or fear; there is only the pure power of love.
In love, our good shapes us.
Our good re-discovers us.
Our good favors us.
Our good blesses us.
Our good makes us.
Our good breathes us,
and breathes us, and breathes us
as we realize that we are one.
Without the peace of love and forgiveness,
we cannot find the connection to include.
This takes courage, empathy and patience.
As Kendrick Lamar sings, “how much does a dollar cost?”
The value of being inclusive is priceless.