2023-05-23-Gil-Appreciation (2 of 5) Understanding Self and Others
12:13AM May 24, 2023
So good morning. And welcome. The one announcement before giving a talk. And that is that I thought that this Friday, we could have a community meeting meeting for those of you, those of us in this YouTube sangha, and so after this is over at about 745, on Friday, I'll open a Zoom Room. And, and then we could meet there, and, you know, have some discussion and maybe have some breakout groups, you could beat each other a bit. And kind of want to do it partly because I'll be gone the month of June, I'm going to go and do a self retreat up in the Sierras. And I'll be completely disconnected from the electronic world. And, and so I thought with my absence before going off, I'd love to say hello and chat a little bit and, and then then talk a little bit. And so I'll post the Zoom link. And they calendar for the Friday event also on the IMC What's New page. And also I'll put it in the chat here for on YouTube. So you'll find it different places, I'll repeat these ideas on Thursday. And, and those of you who don't want to go on Zoom will keep the YouTube continuing. But there might not be as much exchange and I might be looking at the screen for the people on on Zoom. So look forward to meeting those of you who say for that. So one of the ways of appreciating people, one of the ways of showing appreciation is to show them that they are understood understood. Humans have a big need for to be understood. I've been in many situations where there's been conflict. And people disagreeing vehemently about something and are some people quite hurt by some behavior, and they're trying to work it out. And the whole situation changes when one of the parties or both parties understands the other shows that they understand how what's going on for the other person. They haven't necessarily agreed with the other party's point of view. But they have understood the point of view, and made that clear and understood maybe the background for that point of view or background of what happened and their experience of something. And there's kind of like magic magic that happens in communities and in between people. When someone is feels like they've been understood, something can relax, oftentimes, some Bement via there can be a greater feeling of safety or, or being respected. And so when we run into people, situations where they're suffering, and a situation which may be evokes our compassion, to quickly respond compassionately, before we really assess the situation well can lead to inappropriate action, inappropriate intervention, or intervention or connection or support for someone else, that maybe isn't as rich or as valuable as it could be. So one of the ways of appreciating people, one of the elements of compassion is to take the time to understand them better and is an part of understanding them. An important part of that would be to understand oneself better, because it without understanding oneself, we won't understand the bias we have or the the orientations we use to understand the situation. Different people can encounter the same person who is suffering and see the suffering in very different ways. Some people are merely might see it as something emotional and respond as to their emotional situation. Some people might under understand it as as physical and let's make sure that we get people some water and food. Some people might see it as being something societal or something but a larger situation and we have to fix it. And so they're fixing the situation to help them feel better. But we're not really taking the time to know them. And so we orient ourselves sometimes very quickly in times of suffering, because we think it's a crisis or where we are alarmed. But if it's possible, to slow down, and take time to understand the other person, and even if we can't support them, or help them with their particular suffering, it can make a huge difference for people that they are understood. And that they feel understood or their situation is really taken into account. And so too, and I've known people had been through with people, for example, in the hospital, where people were caring for them in the hospital, but the people who did not feel really understood in their suffering and their challenges they were having. And for someone to come and not try to fix their medical situation, or not try to, I know, make a nice picture of it all, you'll be okay. But to really acknowledge, Oh, I understand that this is difficult for you, that something relaxes in the person. So take time to understand the other person, and maybe simple questions may be how is it for you? And and this must be difficult for you, you might say, and, and then the person that's a prompt for the person sometimes to want to explain more and say more, because they know you're interested, you seem to be attuned to them. And or you ask your you know, this is this sounds, this seems really difficult, what's happening? What part do you find the most difficult, because we sometimes we can be quite surprised. But well, we think the difficulty for someone else is very different. It might be you're focusing on them and their challenge they have, but they're actually focusing on how their challenge is limiting their ability to take care of a relative, or a neighbor or something. And so in helping them you might be missing what's really important for them. So to ask, you know, to understand others, is a form of appreciation, and allows us also to find out what we can appreciate by people. When people think that we really want to understand them, or we're beginning to understand them, some people will open up more, some people will relax, and we see them more fully. And there's more to appreciate. The more we appreciate the, you know, the the the more it's beginning to be compassionate action, compassionate action can begins with appreciation begins with understanding that is compassion and inaction. The other part of this understanding is how important it is to understand ourselves. The we have so many biases, so many, so much, so much conditioning, about how we encounter suffering? And do we understand that what we're doing is really wanting to support the other person? Or are we taking care of ourselves, some people's idea of compassion is to address suffering, so that they don't have to feel bad. It's more taking care of ourselves to fixing others to take care of ourselves to make ourselves more comfortable. Or it could be that we have certain opinions about what does deserve compassion and what doesn't, or what counts for suffering and what doesn't, or what elements of the life need to be addressed when they're suffering. And so all these kinds of to understand that we have preconceived ideas, often that we carry with us to understand the situation. And this is where mindfulness is invaluable. Because when we have a trained ourselves to be mindful, we can we'll start becoming more sensitive to the beginning point of an opinion, we have that beginning point of an orientation of you a selective process of way of thinking, and we can see it arise at the beginning, then we can question it, but a question mark, is this really? So? If we see we're focusing on people's emotional life? Is it really so that that's what's needed? Do I always look for reading people's emotions? Or it was what comes up is ideas something needs to be fixed here, and I'm responsible to fix it.
What am I Achilles heels is this sense of responsibility for things but you're not necessarily my responsibility? It's up to me. So I've had to learn to notice that in myself For that, how quickly that gets activated. That Oh, it's you know, I have to take care of the situation where it's not mine take care of but his mind to connect to someone to help people feel understood, appreciate people to empathize, sympathize, and so forth. Also to understand that, you know, what are we trying to do, when we are being compassionate? Or when we're trying to be with suffering? What are we trying to? Are we trying to, you know, how much self is involved there? Are we trying to look good? Are we trying to look good in the eyes of people who are not even here? That we're supposed to be a certain way? Are there a lot of shoulds that we're operating under, or, or opinions that, that, you know, are we scared, so to understand ourselves better. So both these movements take a little bit of time. And maybe in some situations, we have the time, and so to not be a rush into compassionate action, but to take time to appreciate the other person to find what there is to appreciate? To appreciate something about maybe that's deeper than their surface behavior? Or what they're saying. And, and then to try to understand them a little bit more deeper. What's behind their surface behavior? What's behind what they're saying? What, what what do they need? What did they think they need? What is their? What is this difficulty mean for them? Or what is it? How did they understand it for themselves, but because there's so many facets, which of them, it might be that facet, that's important for you, and you think is important, is not important for them. So, too, and then to turn the attention to yourself, and to ask the question, you know, what is there to understand about myself in relationship to this suffering that I'm encountering? Am I afraid? Am I over eager to fix? Do I feel responsible? Do I am I judging the person in some way or other for what they're doing? So so too, so one element of appreciation is understanding, in fact, maybe we can't really appreciate others without some deeper level of understanding about them. So an important element of compassion is appreciation. And an important element of appreciation is understanding. So you might see how this works today, when you're with people, maybe they're enough to know that you're making an effort to understand them better. But you might see if you can, you can kind of in your conversations with others. Ask yourself, you know, what is it? What is it to kind of take time to understand this person more? Can I understand myself more? If I understand myself, maybe I'll understand them better. And then that deeper understanding, is there a deeper appreciation? And is there a deeper understanding of what are the issues that need to be addressed? So thank you very much. And we'll continue this discussion about different aspects of appreciation tomorrow. Thank you.