Hearing the Perfection in Another
In Unbreakable, Untarnishable, and Whole, I wrote that the teacher’s power is in listening to the divine inner nature of our students. Yes, teachers could and perhaps should interact with their students as if they’re guiding, supporting, and facilitating the growth and development of inherently well, innately wise, and potentially divine beings. Teachers could see each student as worthy of respect, kindness, honesty, and love, and that each student is on a journey through life and each teacher is a guide.
As a parent, that's certainly how I want teachers interacting with my kids: from respect for my kids’ individuality, their innate well-being and inner genius, and with love.
That’s not only the greatest gift I can imagine giving my students and their families, it’s also the greatest gift I can imagine giving to anyone.
When I write this about the student-teacher relationship, it seems obvious. But where it seems less obvious is in our interactions with other adults. Could we interact with each other as if we are all divine beings worthy of respect, kindness, honesty, and love? Because we are.
We may act in ways that are inconsistent with our fundamental and innate well-being and perfection, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we’re fundamentally perfect.
Like our kids, what if beneath all the memories and judgments about ourselves and others we adults also actually have an unbreakable and untarnishable core of being too? Well, then we’d also want to be listened to as that potential.
When we listen to what another person is saying more than we listen to what we’re thinking about what they’re saying*, that’s respecting another's dignity. When we get into another’s world and value their perspective as much as we value our own, that’s respecting their inner genius. When we trust that within the externals of each person resides a source of life and creativity, that’s respecting another's inner divinity.
What if we really are fundamentally divine, inherently well, and innately wise? What if there really is no where else to get?
What would you stop doing? What would you start doing?
Every once in a while as I’m driving, the feeling of the car pedals and the road beneath me remind me of when I was first learning to drive. While a little scary, learning to drive was also a lot of fun. I could feel every bump in the road and I became intimately aware of the pressure of the pedals beneath my feet. When I am put back into that beginner’s mindset about driving, driving instantly becomes fun and engaging and exciting all over again. I fall in love with driving again.
That’s what it’s like to listen to someone else with honor, compassion, and appreciation. It’s an experience of falling in love. While our judgments may still be there, we become much more interested in the human being we’re engaged with than the ideas, memories, and judgments (positive or negative) that pop into mind without invitation.
Thanks so much for engaging with these ideas. ❤️
* Tip: if you’re having trouble hearing someone else through the loudness of your own thinking, just repeat the other person’s words in your mind while they're talking. Allow their expressed thoughts to take the place of your own thinking. It doesn't take long to then become more aware of their ideas than yours. Don’t worry, your own thinking is right there, ready to come back to front and center the moment you allow it to. We're never giving away any part of ourselves by honoring the life within another.