Have you ever wondered how to “bridge the gap” between you and another person when neither of you speaks the same language? Too often, when there is a communication barrier between human beings, the tendency is to build a wall separating us, reinforced by the discomfort we feel. A lack of understanding establishes the cornerstone of such a wall—and fear is the mortar that strengthens it. An alternative is to build a bridge mindfully that unites us, reinforced with love, compassion, and non-judgment. The practice is to start by focusing on what we have in common with that person (or people). Common ground naturally offers us a place to stand that allows us to dismantle the invisible walls our assumptions and judgements construct. Irrespective of the communication gap, it’s easy to find what we have in common with another human being—if we are willing and know where to look:
We all are born; we all die.
We all laugh; we all cry.
We all know joy; we all know pain.
We all share the same planet.
We all share the same name:
Several years ago, I had the honor of making a series of keynote presentations at the International CSL Convention of The Americas in Lake Chapala, Mexico. It was the first time I had spoken before a group with the help of a translator using wireless technology, allowing each person who spoke only Spanish to hear and, simultaneously, understand my words as I spoke them in English. It was quite remarkable to meet face-to-face with so many sweet people, knowing it wasn’t just my words they heard; the translator did an exquisite job of conveying the content of my heart—which was teeming with gratitude and a feeling of oneness that transcended any language or cultural boundaries. Likewise, when my new friends spoke to me, their hearts lead the conversation; I know this is true because I could see it in their eyes; their words (most of which I could not understand) were secondary. The realization I had was, while some people have talked about building a wall separating “us” from “them” they can never build a wall high enough to separate hearts that know, in truth, there is only One of us here.
When we can look beyond age, gender, nationality, color, culture, language, religion, or any of the other many labels we mindlessly place upon others and ourselves, we realize we are all very much the same.
All it takes is a simple gaze into another’s eyes while remembering that who we are looking at is actually a reflection of some aspect of ourselves…followed, of course, by the universal language of a smile to bridge any perceived communication gap.
THE TAKE-AWAY: What we each have in common with one another by far outweighs what we don’t. May we all focus on that golden thread in the tapestry of life to which we each add our unique essence, called “Human Being,” and celebrate the beauty and diversity found in the humanity of our oneness. Now, more than ever, this seems to be the call of the soul to which we must respond as a species. Building bridges is why we are here.
Thank you for speaking about this important topic.