Andre Gide said, “The most decisive actions of life are most often unconsidered actions.” I would suggest that our relationships also go “unconsidered” in many cases.
Our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, neighbours etc. all are executed without us ever consciously thinking about what ideas bond that relationship together. But if we make those relationships more conscious we can develop our connections with others in rewarding ways.
If we’re conscious we decide where to place our attention regarding another person. But if just see them superficially, then all we’re really seeing is an echoing habit started by our blind first impression.
Most of us choose the right people for healthy reasons. But we won’t get the value from that wisdom if we don’t make it conscious. Today is an exercise in making the unconscious conscious.
1) Write down the names of the five people you know best.
2) For each person, use a single word to describe their defining ability or quality.
3) For each person, use a single word to describe their defining inability or quality.
4) Now think of those things, and look at each person’s life. Find at least three ‘footprints’ of their strengths and weaknesses in their lives. So if their strong word is ‘caring,’ but they struggle with ‘self-respect,’ then a ‘footprint’ might be that the person stays in bad relationships that allow them to service their biochemical addiction to victimization.
5) Once we’ve done that with the five friends we should find our own ability-word and inability-word. And then we should look for footprints of our own perspective in our own lives.
Once those footsteps are easier to see, we can start to appreciate how our thoughts and ideas about the world start forming why, and how, and when we do things. If we can see that connection, then our natural wisdom will lead us to be more careful with our thoughts.
Know the world around you. Know yourself. We cannot expect to navigate our lives with wisdom if we’re operating blindfolded. Make the ordinary conscious. Remove the blindfold. After we do that, all we have to do is to follow our own wisdom.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.