I read a book years ago titled, Practicing the Presence of People, by Mike Mason. The summary: In the deepest part of our hearts and souls is the desire to love well. Yet in our struggle to do so, we learn that, “We are not born with love; it is something we must learn.” [I think we are born with love, but love may often be tainted by generational, environmental, familial confounding, making it difficult to know what love truly is and how to offer and receive it.] Mason points the way to fresh knowledge and fresh experience, showing how we can discover new things about those we love, understand them from the inside out, tenderly identify with their weaknesses, and celebrate that they too were lovingly made by the hand of God.
By listening and being open to receiving input into my life, I am noticing several themes around being present with people. I read something else recently that discussed the concept of seeing others with nobility or inner illumination. I don’t know about you, but admittedly, that is not and has not always been my practice. I used to feel like I was the Queen of the Critical Spirit. I know that I am different now and that I am changing. I have been for some time.
I have been practicing seeing others’ nobility – people in the grocery store, family, friends, people in cars, street people… I am noticing that I have so much more respect for where people are in their strengths and circumstances…respecting their weaknesses, if I focus on their inner illumination. I have noticed that I am learning more about me as I see them with nobility. It has given me more grace for myself, as I see others with such grace. I have found that I can’t see others with nobility if I am in a judging place.
Practicing the presence of people is not about giving, doing for others, having knowledge for others, teaching others, it is about being present…existing with mutuality…learning and having input for others to learn from their presence with you. Take a moment to contemplate the difference between teaching others and having input for others to glean about their lives from you…interesting to ponder.
There are more thoughts to write about in the days ahead…as always, I invite your thoughts and ponderings. My hope is that we all grow in love as we see each other with grace and nobility…may it be so.