HOW, in the simplest of terms, are we to cooperate with what can be discerned as God’s will?
One way is how we think. We are to think inclusively.
We think in ways that are BOTH-AND, not EITHER-OR.
Examples of this thinking are: Can we let people just be? Can we accept them for who they are, as they are right now? Can two opposite ideas live (and thrive) in tension? Can we foresee growth in difficult circumstances? Do we believe it’s possible – worthy of working for and believing in? Can big things and little things cohabit? Can we speak truth, the whole truth, yet gracefully?
When we hold all of life lightly, and we are not compelled by any force to coerce or manipulate, we find we can accommodate the broader field of thought: BOTH-AND.
The Demonstration of this Thinking as Power
We live very partially – we are side-taking beings.
We don’t want to hear both views and continue to weigh them indefinitely. We are uncomfortable unless we have made a decision. We take sides.
Sometimes life forces us to take sides; we need to make a decision and commit to one way versus another or one way of many ways. That is not only allowable, but necessary.
But to a vast extent life doesn’t require of us these sorts of value judgments – but we still make them.
We choose one person over another – one view over another – instead of going beyond the people or views represented.
The power represented in BOTH-AND thinking, versus EITHER-OR side-taking thinking, is the power of love, universally inspired, and bound for impartiality.
This is not about fence-sitting, people-pleasing, or peace-making... though some are incensed enough to think it. It’s about holding tensions that can be held; in patience; in deliberation; without the need to judge or condemn one party or issue because we have taken the side of another party or issue.
BOTH-AND thinking is the belief that two or more things can be mutually exclusive, yet true and valid at the same time; that there is space enough for many things to coexist simultaneously.
BOTH-AND thinking requires a studious mind, an impartial heart, and a wise sense of soul, in order to weigh things.
The BOTH-AND thinker can be many things to many people without betraying their integrity. They are genuinely free-spirited with regard to their thinking. They are safe people with which to share a controversial view, or even a secret, with.
The better life is saved for the bigger thinker: the person who can hold two dichotomous ideas in tension and not be forced into making an unnecessary judgment. Their mind is bigger and their experience of life is fuller. And they are relational persons because they can hold real friendships with all sorts.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.