I believe this is such complicated and essential territory. I have found that when I focus on others to avoid focusing on my own concerns, the avoidance in that doesn't do anyone any good. And yet, when I am in a more centered place, open to my own inner world, focusing with others on their concerns seems to do both of us a lot of good. Neurobiologically speaking, we can't not have some inner awareness of and attention on what is happening for others because we have complex circuitry that is dedicated to that kind of co-resonance. Maybe even more importantly, we are above all attaching beings, continually seeking the warmest connections with others we can imagine. Our very nervous systems are always requesting connection, looking for safe others with whom to share our world. And we define that safety as nonjudgmental, agenda-less presence. In those moments, we move deeply into one another's worlds, not to fix or adjust or make assumptions about what should happen next, but to be present for the unfolding of the wisdom in our bodies and minds. Without this kind of ongoing support, we don't do very well at any stage of life. With this support, we have the potential to become more deeply individual by being more deeply connected. Then when life brings the inevitable suffering and challenges, we have rich resources of back-up as things sort themselves out. It really does make all the difference.
Thank you for this beautiful reflection on stopping dead in our tracks. That seems to be the sacred starting place, just remembering that one thing. I wonder in that moment of stopping if the content of what rises in awareness is a little different for each of us, tailored (by grace perhaps) to meet our individual yearnings. In that moment of remembering to stop, for me there arises, like a tender gift, an openness to the possibility of deep and personal accompaniment and connection at many levels from ordinary friendship to the presence of the Divine. I wonder what it is that comes most naturally for others.
As for "our nature is to be unconditionally kind, honest, wise,... tender..." Yes!