When was the last time you had a conversation with someone that you admire greatly. Maybe you respected their professional achievements, appreciated their worldly wisdom, or prized their personal presence. I’m not talking about groupie infatuation or delivering ego-stroking praise. Nor am I referring to times you allowed yourself to be meek or patronized by someone of power or authority. I’m referring to those times you took an honest interest in the person you were with, and they responded by meeting you with suprising attention and care.
Do you remember what you were like during that interaction?
Were you half paying attention checking your phone? Were you condescending or passive? Had you assumed this interaction was going to be like every other: stale, scripted, and perfunctory?
My guess is probably not.
When we are with people whom we highly regard, we tend to bring a certain quality of presence to the conversation. We remain humble and ready to learn, opening ourselves to the gifts that person has to offer. It is this type of mindset and energy that we must challenge ourselves to bring to every interaction we have. Author and philosopher Ken Wilber calls this practice “Golden Eyes”.
To practice seeing the world through Golden Eyes, we must look at others as if they’re more developed, more awakened, and wiser than us. Whether this is true or not is besides the point. Firstly, it ensures our full attention and respectful presence because we are, after all, talking to a very wise person. Naturally, we will be open and curious to learn everything we possibly can from them.
Secondly, a beautiful thing occurs when we treat others as more enlightened beings. We begin to hold the space for them to bring forth their highest potential. We create the possibility for them to rise to the occassion and access their deeper gifts.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of such an interaction, you know how wonderful it feels when others take interest in you for who you are. We feel validated, appreciated and respected. In turn, we’re more likely to bring these qualities forward with us, creating an upward spiral of good intention. Moreover, recognizing how our mindset and expectations influence our demeanor, and in turn shape people’s behavior, creates a responsibility for us to call forth everyone’s best. We all want to see and be seen, not just for who we are but for who we may become.
So the next time you’re interacting with another person, young or old, stranger or family, hold open the possibility that they are more awakened and more developed than you are. (Chances are they are in some way.) Doing so almost guarantees a conversation that is richer and more meaningful that you might ever have expected.
Cheers to becoming something more