When we start a conversation we tend to look for common ground. This might be language, activities or anything that we feel will bridge us to the other person. In our desire to connect, we may miss what is actually going on.
If what we share is a common language, then we need to check our definitions. Assuming shared definitions can be quite dangerous. Savvy politicians equivocate; they use vague, overarching language to rope in as many people as they can. They work to let people believe they are on the same wavelength. We need to pin ourselves and others down.
When we assume, we are probably projecting, and relating according to an idea. If we are in fact not on the same page yet we are using similar language, communication can get frustrating. Though the words are the same, the definitions are quite different, so we are in fact speaking different languages. Depth is an important factor here. Many times people will think they are in a deeper place and have a greater understanding than they actually have. There is nothing wrong with being beginners unless they believe they are at the highest level of understanding. The truth is, we all have to face where we really are as opposed to where we think we are. Once we understand where we are we can begin to discern. If we know our definitions and are not vague but clear, we can actually communicate better and be able to hear someone else’s position.
Years ago I was in a conversation with a Christian chaplain. My error was that I assumed we wanted the same thing: union with God. He, however, did not believe that was an option. By union, he meant heaven, which for him was remaining a separate self and being with God, not transcending separateness and being absorbed in God. My mistake was that I had not asked up front for each of us to define terms. We were not even close.
So first question has to be, what do you want? Heaven is different from union with God. Pleasure is different from happiness.
If you are clear about your goal, then your life will then express your goal. Ask yourself what your goal is. Ask others what their goal is. Check it out. If your answer is going to God, wanting God, and others do not want that, then you are not on the same page. Their page is just fine. Do not then ram your position down their throats. And remember, we cannot assume all really want God as we do; their definition of God may be completely different. Relax and know where you are.
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