Sincere Dialogue at the Four Pillars | Nov 3, 2010
Sincerity is one of the traits in those that engage in dialogue which make for genuine dialogue,
the kind that fosters better relationships and understanding. By sincerity we mean that our words convey what we want to say, not what we think the other wants to hear. This connotation of sincerity presupposes that there is trust between me and the other. This is especially true when what we express has to do with negative feelings towards the other or negative perception of the other. The role that words play in these situations was referred to in the introduction to “Positive Word Power – Building a Better World with the Words You Speak” which we ran in this page on October 20, 2010. Another facet of sincerity is when our words and/or feelings match, or do not match, our actions. Nothing puts our sincerity more quickly under doubt than when there is no congruence between what we say and how we act. To put it very informally, we must walk our talk.
Let us consider this trait of sincerity in line with the four pillars of dialogue that Silsilah pursues: dialogue with God, with self, with others and with creation.
When we are in the church or in the mosque we listen to the teachings given by our priest or imam; when we read our Holy Book we are in touch with the teachings of God; when we pray we are in dialogue too with God. Our dialogue with God is sincere when we truly make the effort to listen to Him and discern what He has to say in our life. When we do our best to live the kind of life He teaches us in the Holy Books of our faith and in the guidance of our religious leaders then there is sincerity in our dialogue with God.
Our dialogue with God leads to dialogue with the self, and it is in this dialogue where we make that difficult journey inwards to determine how honest we are in our obedience to God and in submitting to His will in our life .
Our dialogue with God and the self will have an impact in how we relate with others – the members of our families, our friends, the people we work with and the people in our communities. Our dialogue with God and the self is reflected in how we interact with all these others. A sincere dialogue with God and with the self cannot but lead to better relationship and understanding with them. If better relationships are not arrived at then we need to examine how sincere is our dialogue with God and the self.
Many tend to think of creation in an impersonal way. Because of this many cannot think of a genuine dialogue with creation. Perhaps it is because of this that we have, over time, taken for granted the need to nurture creation, and we have actually been abusive of our environment. We have taken from our forests at a rate that has made it difficult for forests to renew themselves. We have fished from our seas at a rate that has put certain species in danger of extinction. We have polluted our land and seas and air so that now we are threatened with global warming and climate change. If we are sincere in our dialogue with creation then we must see that our actions towards creation must now be modified. We need to match our words of concern towards the environment with actions that genuinely show that concern.
We need to do a reality check: how sincere is our dialogue at the four levels of dialogue with God, with the self, with others and with creation.