Throughout our evolution, we humans have sought security and advantage by evaluating where we stand in relation to one another. Like other animals with pecking orders, we check to see who has more power, who is likely to meet our needs, who is posing a threat. Whenever we meet a new person, our genetic, culture, and personal conditioning instantly generates countless judgments about how this person fits into our ongoing agenda for feeling secure and fulfilled. These computations create what I call a trance of ‘unreal others.’ Real humans feel hope and fear; their motives and moods are complex and shifting; their bodies keep changing. In contrast, unreal others are two dimensional. It’s fairly easy to recognize our stereotypes- prostitute, crack addict, politician, movie star, dictator. Less obvious is how our insecurities and attachments affect our capacity to accurately ‘take in’ our colleagues, friends, and family. Yet when we are feeling stressed and emotionally reactive, almost everyone becomes an unreal other. Sometimes it comes as a shock to see the person behind the image we have created…….Tara Brach
where does danger drive our spirit? how does soul discover, apologize or fix? can we heal the bullying of our own driven fate? where is the crack in perception that allows enough light to soften? again, can we heal?
Each of us is a complex stew of changing emotions and thoughts; mortal being, unsure of our place in the universe, longing for something that we cannot even name. Sometimes we experience joy and strength; sometimes we are sad and confused. None of this is cause for dismay. It is who we are and has been so since the first humans found themselves under the night sky with a desire to understand as vast as the sky itself. yet then, as now, our capacity to fathom the limitless universe is bound by the laws of a limited world. To long for peace, or God, or spirituality is quite natural. To feel a certain loneliness for a nameless friend or an emptiness that cannot be filled with the ways of the world is instinctive. With the first pangs of hunger we rush to fill the empty space with something, anything, rather than float quietly on our backs in the mysterious waters where our souls live…..Elizabeth Lesser
The extent of the unknown borders all language. One’s relationship with it is seemingly erotic. One has a passion to know. But one can never entirely know what is other. Telling a story, no matter how much you know, you are very soon pulled into unexplored territory. Even the familiar is filled with unexpected blank spaces. The usual Sunday drive is all of a sudden a wild ride into terra incognita. You are glad to be going, but there is a vague feeling of discomfort. Where are you?……Susan Griffin