I live in Michigan but a couple times a year I go down south to Kentucky and North Carolina to hike and climb in the Smokey Mt’s. I am so drawn to the mountains. But that’s not what I want to express here.
What I have noticed is the ongoing process that exists in the South of most people greeting each other when passing by. It rarely happens up North. (Or at least not much in Michigan.) Decades ago when I first encountered this process I used to diminish it and say things like, “They don’t really mean it, it’s just habit.” But over the years as I continue to develop a practice of attention, I noticed the point isn’t if someone “means” it or not, how could I possible know that? I’m not in someones head. (I have learned to really doubt any thoughts that say I know what anyone is thinking. I don’t.)
It’s an opening and a message that says, “I see you.”
Lately I have noticed how badly we all want acknowledgment that we exist and are connected. We want someone else to acknowledge that we have some kind of meaning to another. When we look at each other in passing on the sidewalk and say a simple “Hey” with a nod, what we are saying is “I SEE YOU.” For that moment there is an exchange of acknowledgement of existence that is much rarer then we think.
It’s a gift.
A true gift that doesn’t cost anything and yet sets a tone for a while that, like everything in the known universe, will fade. But quickly comes alive in the next exchange. I love that. It’s the smallest light that shines into a life and says you are and I are here and noticing it.
Amazing, a simple exchange that tells me I exist and am not alone and you exist and are not alone either!
I encourage starting “I see you” as an ongoing process in life. It can be done anywhere and anytime we come in contact with each other. Anytime you come in proximity with another person do something that says “I see you and acknowledge we are here right now.” See how that works for a time and perhaps write a little about how you feel in both receiving and giving. It’s been interesting even now while we may be wearing masks. The meaning shines through.
This has become a part of my Zen/Tao practice in life and I greatly appreciate it. Let me know how this goes for you or what thoughts you may have.