By Cathy Eck
Win-Win Thinking Instead of Right and Wrong
Win-win thinking isn’t easy to apply. Most humans believe that if everyone thought like them, the world would be perfect. Win-win thinking is about letting go of our beliefs, even if we aren’t really wrong by appearances, social protocol, or religious standards. It’s about resisting the temptation to force others to accept or support our perspective of right and wrong. When we force others to think like us, even if we speak the truth, we get a false self connection with them. When we let go, we move into a True Self connection; that’s what we really want with everyone. A True Self connection is our natural state of unity; a false self connection is possession.
A few days ago, I was out taking a walk. Two of my housemates apparently got into a discussion while I was gone over the right and wrong of drinking wine. Both of them are Evangelical Christians so you wouldn’t expect them to disagree. The woman said that drinking is wrong because her pastor says so; Jesus drank only grape juice. The man said that Jesus drank wine and even made water into wine. The woman then countered that if Jesus made it, it was special wine, not like the wine we buy at the store. By the time I returned, they were no longer fighting. I didn’t know anything about the disagreement.
Soon I learned what transpired while I was gone because each side made comments that showed the argument was still bothering them. My perspective wasn’t even within the scope of the argument so I didn’t get involved. However, comments about the argument kept arising in conversation; I realized that it was time for me to step back and look at the situation from win-win. There was clearly something for me to learn. I couldn’t just ignore the argument even if I wasn’t a participant; I had to make sure my mind was clear of right and wrong. In that way, I could be a clear influence that might help them resolve their conflict more easily.
Grape Juice Argument
The grape juice argument is clearly win-lose. She was saying that if you drink wine, you’re a sinner. She was wielding her superiority position over the other by saying she was the right one; and he was wrong. Naturally, this didn’t bring out the best in her opponent.
This was a familiar situation for me. I’d often been viewed as wrong by others who had strong beliefs. Their rightness depended on my wrongness. They wanted me to submit to their point of view and admit they’re rightness. I could see that people with beliefs assume you are opposing them if you just don’t share their belief.
The man who voted for drinking wine had the natural win-win position. The woman could choose juice and not be wrong in his perspective. However, I learned later that he was trying to coax the woman to have a glass of wine. So he compromised his naturally more expansive and win-win position by trying to get her to let go of her position and join him.
I’d been here too — often with loved ones. I’d try to push them to let go, and I got caught in their illusionary battle over right and wrong. Now there were two drowning minds in the sea of limitation. I remembered that win-win means allowing the other to have their beliefs and suffer the consequences of them.
Expansion is the Goal
The goal of initiation was to let go of all beliefs. Initiates didn’t care if others had beliefs because they didn’t believe anything that wasn’t true. They didn’t accept limitation or the notion of right and wrong. They suggested letting go, but never forced others to do so.
When people have a strong belief, they go looking for support. They often want to force the other to support their point of view. If we want support for the truth, we are holding truth as a belief. When we downgrade the truth to a belief, it has no power. We stop feeling the need for support.
Eliminating Right and Wrong
When we get down to the basics, people have a right to do whatever they want to themselves. Neither the man or the woman’s beliefs were harmful for the other if they each followed their own beliefs. In a world where beliefs still exist, this is often the best possible outcome.
Ideally, if the people with the most limiting beliefs always let go and joined the more expansive perspective, we’d soon find ourselves all living in paradise. But not everyone wants to let go at this time. So we must let go of our belief that other people’s beliefs can harm us or limit our life experience. We tend to fear people with stronger or more limiting beliefs because we’ve all had people impose their beliefs on us in the past. We’ve felt our world get smaller when others forced their beliefs on us.
If we recognize the beliefs of others as false, they won’t affect our life. We don’t have to accept the beliefs of even one other; and we can let go of those we’ve already accepted. Eventually, those with the least beliefs will lead the best lives. When that happens, we won’t have to encourage anyone to let go. They will see the obvious benefit and motivate themselves.
Bottom line…my housemate’s argument was absurd. The very person they fought over said, “Listen and understand! It is not what goes into your mouth that makes you ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes you unclean.” Jesus didn’t care what people drank. He cared what people said or believed.
Sadly, my housemates’ disagreement created separation; in truth, they were two friends who loved each other enough to expose beliefs that kept each of them from freedom. They just don’t realize that yet.