A mind-rattling, consciousness-caressing gift was handed to me today. It is so good that I want to share it right away because it could- I think- make a difference in your world, too, beginning right now.
It is one of those insights born within our language; it is a way of thinking that moves me from two-dimensional thinking (the easy, flat kind of thinking) to three, four, even five dimensional thinking- the kind of thinking that causes green and lively shoots of new questions to suddenly and profusely appear. Here it is:
See vs. Consider..
Do I see a person? Or do I consider that person?
When I see a person, I normally make a rush to judgement. I take the visual data before me, run it quickly through the sieve of my own preconceptions, develop a cursory evaluation and move on. I’m in a hurry, after all: there are more people, more things, more places to see. Why take time to linger when I’ve got all the information necessary to momentarily sate my well-defined and hungry ego? Now I have more to see!
But, when I consider the stranger standing in the line at the grocery store, or the friend who is in front of me speaking- when I consider that person, and not merely see him or her, then their multi-dimensionality begins to be revealed. Their faces, the tilting of their heads, and the movements of their hands became the introductory sentences of a whole narrative that is begging to be read. The strand of curly hair hanging over the young girl’s left eye, or the blurred tattoo over the old man’s right hand knuckles are not mere visual data anymore. Considered, they become colors that give depth to the feelings behind words; they make more resonant the music of a person’s being.
To consider someone is to stop and to experience them. It is to stop the timer in my mind that is always clanging, “Move on!” It is to search (albeit, most of the time, in an unobtrusive manner) for the pain and the joy, the happiness and the suffering that all humans experience in a multitude of ways. It is to seek, because now I must, the tangible and outward evidence of that which is most often hidden and quiet.
To consider a person also involves something else- and in fairness I must warn you about this. It is also draws me toward that person’s life. It causes me to want to know more, reflect on what I learn, and to begin to make the innumerable connections between myself and that person which are possible between all of us and everyone else. It makes love very real, and always possible. And sometimes my heart- I can’t speak for yours- but sometimes my heart just doesn’t feel like it can stretch anymore than it already has.
It’s worth the risk, anyway.
Consider, after all, the alternative.