#138 — October, 2023

I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Greetings, Inspired Seekers:

We don't know what we don't know and we can't see what we can't see. Sounds simple, yes? Well, my friends, as we all do know, simple is not necessarily easy. I hope I am not alone in this struggle!

What we're talking about here are thinking patterns that are ingrained in us from an early age. Our personal filters, our biases, are created by our education, our family and environmental influences as well as our personal experiences, and these color everything we think and the way in which we think it. They are the palette with which we paint the world. And these filters also, quite often, don't allow us to get out of our own way; they restrict new thought. They become our inner critic. And, let's face it, we're all pretty judgey.

We judge new thoughts and ideas by many factors including how easily they are to assimilate; the more simply, the better. Complexity requires way too much effort!

The familiar is comfortable. We like to sit in the center of the whole where it is often difficult to see what's happening at the edges. Additionally, new ideas often evoke our defense mechanisms – we disagree because this new idea is, well, new. It challenges what we know to be true. We are comfortable with our limited knowledge – even when we recognize our limits.

We've been in the darkness, we saw (through our filters) what caused it, and we become safely boxed into our own little landscape. New brushstrokes only muddy the vision the way new ideas upend the story. Our story.

We all have these filters, some born of sorrow and loss, some of joy and success. Both sides of that equation equal our view of the world. And so, dear Seekers, if we really want to help in creating healthy, sustainable, loving and inclusive communities, we must start with the self. We must challenge our own convictions, biases and beliefs. We must wrestle with them and we must do the hard, inner work of re-wiring our brains, strengthening our hands and aerating our hearts.

Because we don't know what we don't know.

Grace, Always Yours,
Reverend Deborah

Question of the Month: Are you willing to challenge your own beliefs in an effort to grow?

The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington serves as a spiritual companion to people of all beliefs and those without faith traditions. She can be reached at GraceMatters@TheSpaceForGrace.com or 215 260 1611.

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