Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of: September 10, 2007


Seeing the Humanity

(Part 2 of 9 in the Inner Work series The Stages of Love)

When we walk through a crowded sidewalk, marketplace, or public event, we may notice all the many people but regard them as mere obstacles to our path. Even in less crowded situations, we tend to notice people in the same way we might notice a life-size cardboard cutout of a person: two-dimensional and devoid of value. We see their body, we see it moving, and we infer that they are alive. Yet we have no contact with the fact of their aliveness, their humanity. They could just as well be animated robots.

To step beyond this superficial perception, we look at the person, with some attention to our looking, to what we see. In this looking, we intentionally see the person as a person. We open to the recognition of their living, breathing humanity. We do this without staring and making the person uncomfortable.

To see the otherís humanity requires us to be in touch with our own. If I am not present in myself, I cannot have any sense of the inwardness of another.

This perception of anotherís humanity brings us to the threshold of real relationship. It moves our perception of the person from outside toward inside, from surface toward depth. The person is no longer just a body, but a human being like you or me.

For this week, practice seeing the living, breathing aliveness of other people. Practice recognizing their personhood, their humanity.


     

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