Everyday we engage each other in conversation, problem solving, cooperative projects, and simple greetings during the routine of our day.
This simple fact leads me to reflect further. In each of these encounters and engagements how conscious are we of the other person? Do we rush head-long into such encounters simply trying to get it over with so we can focus or not focus on getting through our day?
Every relationship, encounter, and conversation we stumble through on a daily basis is an opportunity for us to become better human beings. Without exception an opportunity will emerge in the routine of our weekly lives. The big question is will we be aware enough, conscious enough, compassionate enough, humble enough to listen instead of talk?
As human beings we are instinctively social, tribal, communal, and nurturing. These instincts are rooted deep within our cultural and biological heritage. In spite of this truth, there are instances in our daily encounters that we lack compassion and humility.
There are encounters between individuals and strangers that all too often are charged with fear and distrust. There are instances when, without thought, we pass judgement and disparage an individual. If we were more conscious in those moments what might emerge instead?
If we could just imagine ourselves as the other person for a fleeting moment what insight might be gained? Perhaps we might recall a time when we ourselves were alone. If we paused when we first realized a dispute was erupting how would that change or arrest the negative energy we were piling up against our assumed enemy and adversary?
There is a chance that while pausing we again may be able to place ourselves in the position of the other person. If we did these things more often we would eventually become immune to negative and destructive arguments or rhetoric.
Therein lies the heart of the problem. Positive, compassionate, humble engagement consciously pursued takes time that many of us are unwilling to give. If we are intent on becoming better human beings and cultivating a stronger community and nation then we must take time for each other in a conscious and positive way.
May each of us consciously engage our loved ones, our neighbors, our coworkers and our adversaries reflecting More Life and More Joy!
Rev. Mark C. Pafford
Chaplain and Minister