by Anna Katrina Davey, Principal & Founder at Cultural Confidence

equinox-yin:yangThe occurrence of the Equinox and the start of the astrological New Year this past week have deepened my reflections and desire to forge a more modern and holistic approach towards intercultural training.

Traditionally, intercultural training has focused almost entirely on the differences between peoples. And understandably so given widespread cultural myopia and the tendency to minimize differences while relying on universalistic assumptions at the expense of true understanding of each other and of smooth interactions across cultures.

In fact, as I have previously pointed out in my Paris TEDx Talk, there is a comforting yet deceiving tendency amongst people of good will to believe that we as human beings are more similar than different and that despite some superficial cultural differences in the form of customs and behaviors, deep down we are all the same – human beings with the same core needs, values and desires. Yet while at the deepest, spiritual level of our existence we are indeed one or different manifestations of the same original essence, this is a level we hardly recognize or consciously operate at, and in our material plane of existence, differences play a greater role than we often like to acknowledge.

Humanity is however evolving at a faster pace than ever. More and more people are becoming aware and interested in their spiritual existence and connectedness. It is therefore time to start acknowledging and nurturing this newly emerging awareness with a new approach towards intercultural training. Traditional tools which focus on helping us recognize and effectively navigate differences should be complimented by holistic and spirit-based ones that will help transcend our generally perceived sense of separation and “we versus them” kind of perspective.

The equinox, an event that occurs twice a year when the hours of light and dark are equal, provides us here with rich symbolism. As with the yin and yang symbol, it stands for the duality we experience in the physical realm while at the same time reminding us that in the energetic or spiritual realm there is only oneness. Everything is in balance. There is a little bit of this and a little bit of that and together it makes a whole.

Our logical minds tend to rationalize and understand reality as duality, but when we access the higher realms, we understand that everything is connected and that we are all one and the same.

All of us here on this planet are simply on a journey. And while our journeys may look different, they are probably more similar and connected than we realize.

Incorporating this knowledge into intercultural training will be an interesting journey for me. I don’t expect it be welcome by all and it will be a fun challenge to make it palatable for as many as possible. Wish me the best and I hope you will be part of the journey.