If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. — Nelson Mandela
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. — Albert Einstein
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. — Marie Curie 

To understand, literally meaning…’to stand under’ from Old English. How do we get beneath our assumptions, our judgments, our predispositions? Is understanding the way through our differences?   I say, “Yes” .  The road to resolution of our differences is built on a

Whats below the surface?

What's hidden below the surface?

foundation of  understanding. We must strive to understand and  acknowledge not only what another says, but engage our heart and empathize as if it we were truly ‘walking in their shoes’.  In most conversations we are engaging at two levels as Nelson Mandela pointed out so eloquently.  There is the very tangible and substantive side of  interaction of what is said, including the facts of the situation,the data to support the argument and also the desired outcomes.   Hidden within are the gemstones representing our hopes, wants, needs, concerns and fears. Truly this is what Mandela means when he speaks of the  heart conversation. Only when we take the time to understand…to ‘stand under’ the facts and listen for these  gems can we truly say, “Yes, I understand.”

How will you ‘stand under’ the facts today and seek to engage your heart in understanding?