On Engaging with Others
I want to write, but I don't want to influence you. I want to tell you something of value, but I don't want to convince you of anything. I want to inspire you, but I don't want to push you. I want to make suggestions, but I don't want to control you. I want to remind you, but I don't want to force you. I want to get your attention, but I don't want to distract you.
How on Earth, I ask myself, do people communicate with each other? How can we respect each other's history, present, and future direction while still supporting each other and not pushing our ideas onto each other? It's a very difficult task. And one might question why we shouldn't push our ideas onto each other when we're "right." Another might question, how would we know that we are "right"? What entitles us to operate in such a way? Is knowledge so clear cut?
Is it fruitful to try to convince someone of our viewpoints? Could we think about our conversations as an open discourse in which we engage other viewpoints for the sake of learning on all sides?
As someone who has historically shied away from conflict and sought harmony, I often used avoidance unless I felt strongly that I had to stand up and say something during which I would tremble. The last few years, however, and especially lately, I've been working towards the notion that we can engage each other and learn through each other, even if that learning is not about the actual topic being engaged. It's extremely challenging to me so I often fail and shift in and out between graceful and sloppy engagement and avoidance.
A step apart from the act of convincing is advertising. Am I advertising to you in this blog post? Or am I reminding you of something you want to do for yourself? Am I trying to get you to live my way? Or am I expressing to you a lifestyle that I embraced and that you've also embraced or expressed that you want to embrace? Am I trying to convince you that I know the answer? Or am I trying to express that the system of Yoga is one in which we find our own answers individually?
So, again, I want to write to you, I want to tell you something of value, I want to inspire you, I want to make suggestions, I want to remind you, I want to get your attention. I want all of this so you may continue on your path in self-understanding, joy and peace.
I'd like to share a by Rudolf Steiner, which is beautiful when recited to one's self, and both useful and beautiful to silently think it as we engage with others.
We are entering into a very special season and I am wishing you joyous illumination during this time!
This is a verse by Rudolf Steiner meant to be spoken by an adult to small children.
I found that addressed to one's self, it is powerful and beautiful as well as thinking it towards those with whom we engage, regardless of age or relations.
May light stream into you that can take hold of you.
I follow its rays with the warmth of my love.
I think with my thinking's best thoughts of joy
On the stirrings of your heart.
May they strengthen you,
May they carry you,
May they cleanse you,
I want to gather my thoughts of joy
Before the steps of your life,
That they unite with your will for life,
So that it finds itself with strength
In the world,
Photo taken by me in May 2005