How to Relate to that Stranger in Front of You

The more you leave your home (both the physical structure and the internal one you hold) to experience life, the more you ‘do,’ the more enriched you become by experiencing others’ authentic story, but only when you make yourself available to receive and relate.

Though many will attest that it is easier to be honest with a stranger, the reality is that the majority of us do not move past small talk with strangers. We exchange niceties, we complain about how crowded the train is on that particular morning, refer back to the news of the day, or worst of all…we say nothing at all when an opportunity to connect arises. Instead, we look down at our phones and pop in our headphones.

The majority of the ‘doing’ that I have been experimenting with lately are tangibles: attending specific events, trying new activities, visiting locales, etc. But, I have also been ‘doing’ in more abstract ways. Lately, I have immersed myself in trying a different approach in relating. In an effort to take advantage of moments where this is possible, I’ve used honesty as a guide to interaction.

For me: Honesty is the avenue to vulnerability. Vulnerability is the avenue to connection. Connection is the avenue to purpose. Purpose is the avenue to participatory active living.  Participatory active living is the avenue to fulfillment.

This approach has led me to the realization that magic occurs when two people who interact for the first time leave behind fears of saying too much too soon and simply share their current story, completely and honestly. When people open the door to their unfiltered thoughts and experiences then it creates room to be seen, to be seen without expectation and appreciated for just being.

The amount of awareness and commitment to stay present in the interaction, to not let your thoughts wander off, requires practice and effort, but the reward is worth it. The depth of authentic relating makes for a remarkable connection.My analytical side was eager to research this process. My research led me to InterSubjective Meditation.

Though I have yet to attend a lecture or workshop on it, InterSubjective Meditation, also known as circling, appears to be the proper description for what I have been experiencing. Coincidentally enough, a friend had brought this practice up to me in passing a couple of months ago, but I did not look into it at the time.

InterSubjective Meditation is described as “an organic, in-the-moment interpersonal process that’s equal parts art form, meditation, and group conversation — all designed to allow a visceral experience of connection and understanding of another person’s world, celebrating who and where they are right now” (http://www.authenticworld.org/what-is-circling/).

The majority of my posts touch on the obsessive interest I am currently undergoing with awareness and staying present. This form of relating is an additional tool that I have picked up to expand on these two passions.

I read an article recently that told a story about Bill Murray. There was excitement over Bill’s decision to trade seats with a taxi driver who was driving him, so that the taxi driver could practice playing his saxophone in the cab. I would like to think that the excitement was really inspiration. Inspiration found in the fact that good ole’ Bill formed a connection with a stranger, heard this stranger’s story (the driver was unable to practice his music due to long working hours as a driver), and shared in this stranger’s present through his music.

I’m a strong believer that at the end of the day, everyone wants to feel connected, whether it be with those closest to us, or those whom we feel we may have absolutely nothing in common with but intrigue us.

I have found that a connection always starts with being present and available enough to hear the other person’s story. The ability to show up for other people’s stories, however, requires that we remain present in ours.

In Bill’s words (referring to the taxi story), “I think if you saw that moment and you’re as they say, ‘available,’ you’d make that connection and you’d do it right.” Here is to us all working to becoming more available and enriching our connections.

Post further explaining InterSubjective Meditation (circling)

Bill Murray taxi story

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