What gets in the way of relatedness and relationship?
Judgement is an automatic way of being in the world. When we judge we carve up ‘that which is’, into ready-made buckets given to us by language, cultural practices, and our particular stand/situation. And when we do this we are no longer face to face with ‘that which is’.
Actually, you/I are NEVER face to face with reality – that which is just as it is. Why? Because the carving up of reality takes place without us being present to doing the carving up! So you/I are firmly planted in the conviction that what is before us is that which is – reality pure and naked.
Given that is our already always taken for granted stand in the world it is easy to see how relatedness and relationship suffers. I make you wrong when you do not see. You make me wrong when I do not see what you see. And from that place we withdraw from one another creating distance. Or we attack one another, bent on being right and proving the other wrong. If that cannot be done through word then we resort to fighting.
The way out of this trap: ‘look out of the other’s window’
I say the access to relatedness and relationship is to get that life/reality cannot ever be grasped accurately. At the very best you/I are travelling through the ‘woods of life’ and how life, how the world, shows up depends on where you/I are in those woods and in which direction we are looking.
Or as Irvin Yalom says ‘Look out the other’s window.’ What does he mean? Here is what he says in his book The Gift of Therapy:
“Decades ago I saw a patient with breast cancer ….. been locked in a long, bitter struggle with her naysaying father. Yearning for some form of reconciliation …. she looked forward to her father’s driving her to college – a time when she would be alone with him for several hours.
But the long-anticipated trip proved to be a disaster: her father behaved true to form by grousing at length about the ugly, garbage littered creek by the side of the road. She, on the other hand, saw no litter whatsoever in the beautiful, rustic, unspoilt stream. She could find no way to respond and eventually, lapsing into silence, they spent the remainder of the trip looking away from each other.
Later, she made the same trip alone and was astounded to note that there were two streams – one on each side of the road. ‘This time I was the driver’, she said sadly, ‘and the stream I saw through my window on the driver’s side was just as ugly and polluted as my father had described it’.
But by the time she learned to look out of her father’s window, it was too late – her father was dead and buried.’
Please get that we NEVER have access to that which is. That kind of access is NOT available to us. What shows up for us is determined by our biology. What shows up for us is shaped by our the assumptions and categories build into our language. What shows up for us is determined by our culture – the cultural practices. What shows up for us is a function of where we are standing at a particular point in our journey of life.
If you/I are present to this then we have access to WOW. What am I pointing out? WOW, how extraordinary that the world, that which is, shows up differently and uniquely to each and every human being. Let’s find out how the world shows up for my mother, father, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, colleagues, boss…… Let me see what you see through your window. How extraordinary! When you/I stand in that place we stand in the place of wonder, relatedness and relationship.
Be humble. How you see it is NOT ‘the way it is’! You NEVER see it ‘the way that it is’! Be humble, listen to the other, respect the other: strive to look through the other’s window. Do that and you will never be alone, never walk alone.