Extract from You and I - The Person in There by Eugene Gendlin.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What do you understand by "keeping nothing between?" Can you share a personal story of a time you kept nothing between? What practice helps you keep nothing between?
These small reminders speak to some of the most core issues plaguing society today. Our learned reaction to ignore, look away, avoid eye contact, or even respond mechanically, how we 'should' respond rather than how we feel, are the barriers that are contributing to skyrocketing rates of isolation, depression and suicide worldwide. Humans are social creatures by nature, we crave connection; and it really is not hard to share even a moment with a stranger. You never know, that one smile or genuine greeting might be the only one that person receive that day; it might be just the hope, the glimpse of warmth and human compassion they needed to see the light and soldier on. Be kind, and remember we are all simply one part of the whole human race.
Genuine, small gestures won't make people nervous, rather open their minds and hearts to s softer, kinder world.
I'm still like that and it makes people really nervous:-)
Keeping nothing between means being your real self, authentic, no masks. It also means creating a space to allow the other person or people to be real as well. I feel it is a bit easier than we think; we needlessly complicate. One of the phrases that helps me to be in this state is to think of us all as Tall Children, not in a demeaning way, but in that innocent, open way. A personal story of nothing between happened last night as a group of us broke the fast for Ramadan. We were from at least 2 dozen different cultures and yet there we were together seeing each other with openness and humanity and heart. It was a wonderful experience of building bridges of understanding. Hugs to you all! Let us keep nothing between!
While on my daily walks in the park, I pass other walkers...some alone, some with someone else. Invariably, I smile and attempt to look them in the eye as I speak a brief greeting. For those who dare to meet my gaze and also speak in return, it seems as though for a brief moment nothing is between us and we are connected. Some pass by without speaking or even looking at me, however, and I feel that we missed an opportunity to be real to one another out of fear of stranger or fear of vulnerability. Surely, we are meant to be present to one another, even in passing.
In a spiritual group I'm in, there is one person that when we look at each other there is nothing between. It happens after one of us has shared a personal spiritual insight. We then look at each other openly with surrender and love. It is a very beautiful moment of 2 souls connecting and becoming one with nothing in between. The gazing into each other's eyes may last only a few seconds but a circuit has been closed and love has found expression on this earth.
"Keeping nothing between" is simple and basic and we make it so difficult. It means to keep the line of connection between me and another clear and open, free of obstructions such as thinking, expectations, prejudices, preconceptions, predictions, objectives, preoccupations. Such obstructions get in between two people and interfere with connecting. When nothing is between, we can meet, person to person. Actually, I strive to keep nothing between, and am usually successful for a few seconds at a time before some obstruction slips in and I find myself talking to my thinking or expectations or some form of obstruction instead of connecting with the other. Then I catch myself and have a few more seconds of nothing between before I again allow something between. Being present, paying attention, being aware and mindful help me keep nothing between.
What stops me from being myself to myself? What stops me from being myself to yourself? What is in between me and me and between you and me? What is that in me which blocks my natural childlike curiosity to look at you and get connected with you?
To find the answer to my questions, I need to look within me with an open and present mind to see my original face. I need to set aside consciously the three clusters mentioned by Eugene Gendlin in this writing: my inner struggles going on in my mind, my mind preoccupied with what I need to do right now and the conventional way of saying hi to myself and others. These are the obstacles that obstruct me meeting me and really knowing me. I do not become intimate with myself. The same obstacles obstruct me to see you freshly, clearly and deeply and to be connected with you. A loss on both sides!
What helps me is very simple. I have set aside daily time for me to be with me inviting and greeting whatever and whoever shows up in my consciousness. This mindfulness meditation has helped me to do self-work to be whole and wholesome. It has helped me to relate to others in my life with openness, wonderment and freshness. Working with children in a school setting has been very beneficial to me.
I would like to conclude my reflections with words uttered by an Indian poetess by the name Meera. They are in Hindi. I translate them into English. "Remove the veil that you are holding inside yourself and you will find your Beloved." And that's what I am doing.
Jagdish P Dave