Some situations call for excellent analytical skills, but generally, employing these skills directed at the people around us isn’t helpful. It separates us. I try to ‘understand’ them, but without putting myself in their shoes. What if there is another way of seeing those around us?
The phrase “It is” has been repeating in my heart for the past few weeks. I think I need to pay attention.
Recently, I read Frederick Buechner’s words: “What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought.”
I’m finding that “It is” allows the chatter to quiet down.
Richard Rohr recently wrote about how through contemplation, we “stop labeling, ranking, and categorizing people and things and just see them without letting them ‘possess'” us.
“It is” invites me to let go of this labeling, ranking, and categorizing.
I am deeper than my thoughts, my likes and dislikes, my choices, my mistakes, my triumphs. And so are you. You are. I don’t need to label you. Analyze you. Try to figure you out. You are. That is enough.
Analyzing involves labels, theories, and ultimately judgment. It is the opposite of “It is.” I wonder if what separates us from experiencing God in others is our “mental chatter” about them. What would happen if I just experienced her as she is?
This quote by Diane Eshin Rizzeto, captures beautifully how we can meet another “as is”:
“When we meet others as strangers, our hearts are open to possibility, change, and reconciliation. We haven’t decided what one another is, and only know that person as she presents herself in this very moment …. If you meet that person with the words of yesterday echoing in your mind, then your glasses are tinted disagreeable. You cannot meet the other as a stranger…. As long as we insist on seeing him through our memories, those glasses will not allow us to meet him openly and with possibility.”
Meeting another “as is” or “as a stranger” allows us to be spacious. Spacious in our hearts. Spacious in our welcome. Letting go of the need to analyze or label others makes so much space in our minds. Space for paying attention to what is happening in front of us, to what is happening in our hearts. It makes space for actually experiencing my life and the people around me.
I look at my six-year-old daughter. I feel the weight of her on my lap and in my heart. Is she listening? Is she keeping her room clean? What will her future hold? All of that pales to the fact that she is. And she is Loved. God lives in her soul. That is enough.
It’s in the shimmering now, the immediate here, where my soul glimpses and touches the Sacred, the More, the Real. Love. God.
The story goes that when Moses asked God for a name, God replied, “I am.” God is verb. Is being. Is unnamable and beyond categories and labels. We, who are made in God’s likeness, echo that being-ness in our souls. You are. I am. She is. That’s enough. We can end the sentence there.