I am intrigued by the fact that my experience depends on my state of consciousness. Something I often play with is noticing what happens when I connect ‘I’ to ‘I’ as I interact with people in my daily life. This means looking below the superficial appearances of things, so that I’m conscious of my ‘deep self’ within … and then connecting with the deep self in others.
We spend much of our time feeling disconnected from ourselves and each other. But it only takes a moment to wake up and connect ‘I’ to ‘I’ – deep self to deep self. Whether it be in the world of business, our family life, or our social life with friends, when we become conscious of the depths within it transform the experience of living. We feel relaxed and in love with being ourselves. We appreciate the miracle of meeting another human being who is also experiencing this bittersweet adventure of life.
If you’ve watched the movie Avatar you’ll know that the characters greet each other with the phrase ‘I see you’. That’s how it feels when we connect ‘I’ to ‘I’. We genuinely see each other. And when this happens our relationships naturally become clearer, deeper, and more creative. We bring out the best in each other. We celebrate our wonderful individuality. We authentically connect and empower each other to become more alive.
In India, people use the greeting ‘namaste’, which can be understood as meaning ‘I acknowledge you from the place in me where you and I are one.’ Connecting ‘I’ to ‘I’ enables us to acknowledge to each other that at the depths of our being we are essentially one. And when we discover that we are one with all we find ourselves in love with all.
In the Hindu tradition, meeting with a spiritual master is regarded as a great blessing because it helps us become more awake. We resonate with the expanded state of consciousness the great spiritual being we’re with inhabits, transforming our own state. This is a wonderful experience known as darshan. However, when we connect ‘I to I’, we can feel the joy of darshan with anyone because in reality we’re all great spiritual beings.
Corner Shop Communion
I recently wrote about my own experience of connecting ‘I’ to ‘I’ in my book How Long Is Now? :
I’ve nipped down to the local corner shop to buy a paper and I’m casually chatting to the girl behind the counter about how bad the weather has been lately. It’s a trivial conversation to pass the time while she’s getting me my change. But something profound is also happening. Behind the social niceties I’m communing with someone whose name I don’t even know.
As we chat together I’m silently acknowledging the enormity of her deeper being. And as I do so she is changing. She’s stopped avoiding eye contact. Her face has softened, because she’s smiling. We’re totally present with each other. Then I take my paper and leave her serving the next customer, with whom she is now talking warmly.
As I walk home I’m thinking about how my state of consciousness affects the way I relate to people. If I’m lost in the story of Tim and I go to buy something from the corner shop, I see the girl who serves me as a ‘shop assistant’, because that is her role in my story. If I’m more awake I’m conscious that she is also a person full of hopes and fears, who happens to be a shop assistant, and this makes our meeting warmer and kinder. If I’m deep awake I see all of that and more. I realise that I’m meeting the mystery of life made manifest in this unique form. And there’s the opportunity to briefly peek out from behind the veil of appearances and say ‘Hi’.
That’s what happened with the shop assistant today. We met in the moment. For this to happen I didn’t need to come in with ‘Good morning mystery made manifest, I’d like to buy a paper please’, because that would have freaked her out. I simply needed to be in the deep awake state and give her the space to join me should she wish to. And, as often happens, this led to an unexpected moment of communion with a total stranger.
To love each other personally takes time. We need to talk to each other and share experiences. We need to laugh and suffer together. But to meet each other in the transpersonal oneness we don’t need to know each other personally at all. The connection from being to being is immediate and always possible. And whenever we commune in big love it sends ripples of kindness out into the world.
So … here’s suggestion. Why not experiment with seeing deeper in your own life today? Be conscious of your own deep self and reach through the separateness to silently connect with the deep self in others. This is an experiment not a test, so you can’t fail. But notice what difference this makes to the way you relate to others. I think you might enjoy it!
Tim Freke is hosting a day seminar on ‘CONNECTING I TO I’ in Birmingham ,UK on March 10th and also offers ‘mystery experience’ retreats internationally. You can find out more about these events here.
(cc) Photo Credit: mccun934