On Understanding Each Other

Büşra Demir
6 minutes

Photo: Alper Tanca

Much has been written and drawn about how people can understand each other and listen to the other’s views with a broad heart. Who knows how many novels, how many movies, how many children’s stories, how many academic books and articles… But it is one thing to be a person of the heart and another to be a person of the state. What good is a word if it does not turn into a light in the heart? Don’t words lose their value when they don’t meet life?

“I understand you, but you don’t understand me,” someone said to me the other day. It is as if this sentence is the common sentence of many seemingly civilized debates. It says a lot in itself… ‘My opinion is the absolute truth’. And maybe it whispers: ‘If you don’t accept it, you don’t understand me. Because there is no window other than this window. No other doorway, no other crack…’

And he asked me one question after another. To reveal to me the absolute truth in him. In all his fury. With rage in their eyes. He did not know that my thoughts have neither sharp boundaries nor insurmountable molds. I don’t have a single answer, an absolute answer to those questions. Like Rumi’s compass, a series of thoughts with one foot in its roots and the other in the four corners of the world… It changes and transforms according to the brightness of the heart it visits, the land it travels to.

It seems arrogant to me that your thoughts are so unshakeable. It is frightening to speak too confidently about everything. From which book of values do human beings glean the courage to count the minds and hearts of others without the slightest suspicion? Doesn’t it make courage more beautiful to be able to look through the window of “Maybe it’s not like that”?

Who knows which heart is home to what? Which servant is a beloved, which heart goes beyond the spiritual gates. While the world was created on duality, it does not seem to fit the work of the creator that worldly matters have a single truth. But unfortunately many people know too much, they know the absolute truth. Without remembering your helplessness.

On the other hand, this life is not without people. The world is no good without a pair of eyes to talk to. Man is man’s home, the author says, and man finds his story in the other. But maybe he should look for the one who knows his helplessness, the one who knows his limit on the journey of life. He who knows his smallness compared to the greatness of the Creator hesitates to speak big words. Or, when he speaks the truth, he can find a way to get the words across without breaking hearts. What good are words filled with anger, even if they reflect the truth, if they break hearts?

Meanings are sometimes lost in the crowd of words. For the sake of being right, for the sake of appearing wise, sometimes just for the sake of being visible, we often embellish words and throw them around. We don’t think about whether it will take on other meanings on the road, whether it will cause fractures and resentments in someone else’s world. Where’s the subtlety in that? Maybe we should ask it differently. How many of us are left who are looking for subtlety, expecting subtlety?

However, to be able to speak is also to be able to listen. It is to be able to listen without anger, hatred, prejudices. It is to be able to listen with an open heart, a wide heart, a vast and clear mind, to truly understand. To me, speaking is interpreting the meanings you take into your heart in your own world and giving them back in a naive way, like a leaf falling into water.

Tell me, how many people are left who can talk like that? Isn’t such a companion, such a friend a balm for the soul?

One should have a friend who is dressed in humility instead of the know-it-alls. A friend who has taken off the garment of arrogance, who has put aside the trappings of hatred and anger on his wrists, a friend who lightens the soul with his simplicity… A companion with whom he can shut up as much as he can speak. Silences fill the gaps that words cannot fill. Because in those moments of silence the heart continues to speak. In a realm where no one else can see or access, two people can tell each other so much from the heart. Tirelessly. With grace, with delicacy.

While wandering through these thoughts, perhaps we need to open another window. A window that welcomes human nature as much as it welcomes the breezes of arrogance. Because maybe sometimes it is not arrogance that is hidden in those sharp, fierce defenses, but rather the style. Perhaps such passionate sword-waving, such confident postures are necessary. Perhaps they are sometimes instrumental in the manifestation of destiny. In addition to some who come out with arrogance, some are uttering many words with the divine name at their core. Sometimes you need celal as much as you need cemal. Maybe with that celal, one takes action and makes what is meant to be happen. Of course, at the command of the Creator who says, “Be!”

Still, I think people can meet in the same sky even if they look from different windows. Even if they don’t fly together, they can fly in the same direction, sending a greeting from afar. Even if we take different paths, walk with different comrades, wear different colors, there is only one sky under which we walk. If goodness, love, peace is where we are going, can’t we allow ourselves to walk on different paths? Maybe I need you to be you and you need me to be me. Maybe this world needs my ambiguity, your sharp boundaries. Maybe I balance you and you balance me. Can’t we just accept it?

Sadettin Ökten, one of our esteemed elders, says the following when talking about the importance of consultation. “Maybe the solution to your problem has landed in someone else’s heart, who knows…”. From this perspective, perhaps the keys to life are in each other’s hands. Perhaps we will find the key to many locked doors that we thought were unopenable in a heart right next to us. So is it not worth listening, opening your heart, expanding your heart? Perhaps if we could silence our ego and listen to the other, if we could make our conscience our only companion while listening, our relationships, our view of life, our inner world would be in completely different places. Somewhere higher.

Longing for the days when we can realize that we are different reflections of a single color…

Leave a Comment

We use cookies to improve our service. Read more Accept