Relating in presence

Lets look at what we usually experience when we are relating with others. When we first meet someone, everything is new, fresh, alive, joyous and full of love, our judgements, expectations and personal self is out of the way. Like relating to a newborn.

But as time goes on, the more past we bring into the present with this person, we construct a narrative about who this person is and what they mean to us. They start to trigger us, as our personal past gets brought right into the relationship. This happens with friendships, with partners, with children, with parents, with all relationship.

At this point we no longer view the person from presence, we view them through a dense filter of concepts, images, narratives and emotional pain "about" who they are.

In other words, we think we know them. But do we really know them? Or do we only know our own perspective, our own story/narrative about them.

The more past we bring into the present, the more we miss this moment, the more obscured it gets. This moment is always fresh, always new, always alive. But we carry a dense energy within us that filters it based on past experience.

We carry this right into relating with others, superimposing our judgements and pain onto them.

Have you ever noticed why your family members (siblings and parents) are the most triggering? Its because the history with them is so dense. Countless unconscious stories and narrative playing out accompanied by a strong emotional charge ready to be triggered at any moment.

We are all longing for a sense of connection, of love and intimacy. But that connection that love and that intimacy is already and always there, only it gets obscured.

Underneath all the pain, the narratives and the triggers, is a vast presence. It can directly be experienced if we turn our attention away from thoughts and toward "Being". The more we work with our own triggers, our own pain, the less we project it onto them, and the more we can relate in simple presence. In this moment, the only place connection can really be found.

We learn to just "Be" here, with another, in this moment. Bringing the being back in the human being.


Matt Nettleton

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