When I was 18, I trained with a charity called Active Training and Education to be one of their 'monitors' on the summer camps they run for children. One of the things I remember very clearly from that training is the founder, Chris Green, telling us this:
Every day, you must see each child with fresh eyes. No matter what they did or said yesterday that might have been 'difficult', 'disruptive', or 'wrong', you must see them today as if you are seeing them for the very first time.
The importance of what Chris taught us back then has only grown over the years in my mind, although I've often forgotten its wisdom and application in my own life.
Sometimes, as we go about our days, we really are meeting people for the very first time, so giving them the gift of seeing them with fresh eyes is natural and easy. But more often than not, our days are filled with people we see frequently or even daily. In these cases it's not always so easy to approach our interactions fresh. Instead, we bring to those conversations and meetings all the thinking we had about that person yesterday and the day before and the day before that. We bring our already formed ideas of who they are.
When we do this, two things happen:
We block love for the person we're interacting with and we block love for ourselves.
When we come to a conversation weighed down with old thinking about a person, we can't do anything but overlook the deeper truth of who they are because we're hooked on an idea of who we think they are. The deeper truth, no matter what the external behaviour, is love. That's true for all of us.
And if we're not sitting in that place inside ourselves that is able to see beyond the surface to the deeper truth of the person in front of us, we can't hope for the light in us to connect to the light in them. And if that's how we come to our interactions, each person involved loses out.
The other person doesn't get the gift of being seen in their truest light, giving them the opportunity to see and experience the unconditional love that they really are. And you don't get to experience yourself in your truest light, which again is and always will be a space of unconditional love.
It's summed up beautifully by this definition of 'Namaste' given to me several months ago by one of my mentors, Bill Cumming:
I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honour the place in you of love, of light, of truth and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.
Each time I read this card, my breath is taken away and I feel a deep swelling of truth inside my heart. Our work is to come to each person we meet from that place inside ourselves of love, of light, of truth and of peace. We help create a more beautiful world every time we do.
So the invitation to adventure today for all of us is this:
Can I meet each person whose path crosses mine today with the spirit of fresh eyes? Can I let go of who I thought they were yesterday, so that I might see them as they are today? Can I see beyond the surface, to the deeper truth of who they are and meet them there?
Love and courage,