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Encountering another individual the way you encounter yourself

When is the last time you truly approached someone else in the same way you approach yourself?

Can you accept that, much like we see within ourselves, others are also experiencing:

Varieties of contradictory emotions and reactions...
... potentially crippling anxiety and depression...
...deep woundings of the soul by cause of sin or transgressions...
...or just a bad day here or there, for no reason at all.

None of us will perfectly approach other people as fellow travels, equal "I"s. But we can start by being more aware. What are others asking of us, and what are we asking of them? Where is there an imbalance, and how can that be righted?

Our relations to others are nothing more, nothing less, than a sharing of minds, bodies, emotions. I've learned that subtle shifts in tone and expression can throw all of these aspects out of whack. We can shatter each other. We can shatter ourselves.

But we can also try again to approach others as the "I"s that they deserve. And in so doing, we can fundamentally shift out relationships and shared realities towards fuller understanding.

Think today about your most important relationship. Answer honestly to yourself: What is the power dynamic? Do you modulate each other? Or is power shifting more to one point of view, one ego?

True encounters with others can only emerge from this type of honesty, this type of self-interrogation.

Kindness does not come easily from ego validation or power seeking. Acting in true kindness depends on first being able to have these true encounters. And it also depends on honestly questioning ourselves, and then sitting quietly through that examination, all the way to the end.

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