I like some of those characters and voices—others, not so much! But my job is to listen to ALL of them, without censoring the ones I don't like, trying to host a life-giving inner conversation.
In my new book [http://tinyurl.com/3c2xmjy], I argue that practicing hospitality toward people and viewpoints that seem "alien" to us is key to restoring the civil community on which democracy depends.
Hospitality doesn't mean pretending to agree with things we don't agree with. It means listening openly and with respect, learning what we can, and responding in ways that build bridges, not walls.
But here's the rub: We can't receive the external "alien" respectfully if we can't do the same for the inner voices we don't want to hear. Hospitality, like all human virtues, begins within.
All of this is more easily said than done! But Rumi gives us a great gift: A vivid image that makes something challenging feel possible...
Each of us is a "guest house." Our job is to "Be grateful for whoever comes/because each has been sent/as a guide from beyond."
P.S. "Beyond" means different things to different people. But if it means nothing more than "beyond the limits of my own experience and imagination," that's good enough for me!"