Agreements – VII

March 15, 2010

Our Seventh Value at Easton Mountain

Our seventh value affirms “Respectful honesty and the peaceful resolution of disagreements.”

I find myself thinking of the words of William Blake: “A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.” I also reflect on the idea that it is not right to tell the truth to someone who will use that truth for an evil purpose. If you were living in Holland during the Nazi occupation, you would not tell the truth to the Gestapo if they asked you where Jews were hiding. Honesty is not a moral absolute.

Valuing “respectful honesty” means, to me, not only speaking truth but also creating a climate for truth. If I feel that I’m going to be judged – perhaps for my interest in S/M – I will keep that interest hidden and may even lie to prevent your knowing about it. But if I sense that you’re not judging me and will not ridicule me, I am more likely to be open and honest about my life. Thus holding the value of “respectful honesty” demands that we who live and work at Easton mountain create a climate in which honesty and openness are possible.

The second part of the value statement says that we value “the peaceful resolution of disagreements.” Some of us have studied Nonviolent Communication, as developed by Marshall Rosenberg. We have sponsored retreats here that focus on his methodology, as well as including workshops in Nonviolent Communication as part of our community-led retreats. The methods of Nonviolent Communication help us have “respectful honesty” as well as “the peaceful resolution of disagreements.”

Next week I’ll focus on the eighth value, which affirms “Community, the support it provides, the strength and love it brings.”

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