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Mindfulness Versus Polarity

Mindfulness Versus Polarity 150 150 Nicole


My son’s army figures have overtaken our bathroom! But, I thought it a fitting (ironic?) backdrop for this quote. “To celebrate the particularity of individuals and cultures is to see and understand facets of God, but no single person or culture can contain all the facets of God in themselves, isolated from others. Rather, it is in the bond of peace, in love, ‘renewed in the spirit of your minds’ (Eph 4:23), that a more complete (and completing) image of God is found.”

So, it is more important to me than I care to admit that my voice is heard. It is, of course human, that desire to be seen, to be known. After all, to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known. But, when my desire for my own voice to be heard is more important than truly understanding, knowing another person’s voice, the clamor of voices ricochets, polarized.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, it is crucial that we, particularly as leaders intentionally make time and space in mindfulness spiritual practice—together. Because of Jesus, we have personal access, freedom to hear with the same Spirit that witnesses to our spirit, God’s word to us. God speaks directly to us. And, God listens to us! Yet, do we hear God in and through each other? How can we know the fullness of God’s speaking if we do not also hear it through others—all of whom are made in that same God’s image.

Mindfulness spiritual practice is an awareness of being, by paying kind attention, on purpose, in the current moment, without harsh judgment, to things as they are. “It is a present-moment disposition of curiosity and openness to the Spirit ‘bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God’ (Rom 8:16).” Rhetoric or the regurgitation of ideologies is not useful to productive, transformative, life-giving conversation. Ideologies blindly cast about clang and clink, make a raucous noise, only serve to polarize. Instead, it is by listening to what comes from spending time together first listening to God—this God that is One, who reveals to us that we must (and can) love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love our neighbors as ourselves—and second, to each other—it is only then that productive, transformative, life-giving conversation is possible.

When I love someone, I must suspend my own perspective—not discarding my perspectives indiscriminately. But by doing so I make space (time) for another person to be seen, time for greater understanding behind the words. In that graced space there is more room to expand—in perspective and in love.

My son was born in South Korea. His country welcomed us and allowed us to make him our own. Clark is one of the most amazing human beings I know. I know God better because I have become better acquainted with South Korean culture. I know God better because I know Clark.


For more on this subject you can read my book,

Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone


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About the author


Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (CO, MI).

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