Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Connect With the Other...

In my travels through the world of psychotherapy, I once tried Gestalt Therapy. The one thing that has stayed with me from that experience is how often the facilitator would stop my current rant and story-telling and say to me, “Connect with the other," the other being him. With that, I would look into his eyes, breathe and become present again. And suddenly, what I was ranting about seemed of little consequence, or at least could be breathed with. There was something so very poignant about those brief moments of eye contact, and something as equally poignant about how much I would try to avoid them.

I reflect on what connection means, what love means, what relationship means, what it really means to be intimate with another human being. And that is it. It’s seeing the other. To see another, to truly connect with another is so very rare. We can make all sorts of eye contact, but do we really see the other person? Can we see them through the window of our heart, without the story going on in our minds about who this person is or who we think we are?

You know that man I’ve been blogging about—the one I claim to love? It hit me the other day that I am not even consciously aware of what color his eyes are. I’ve had numerous face-to-face conversations with this man and yet can’t even recall ever noticing the color of his eyes. Where have I been? (Edited to add: They're blue. A deep sea blue. I'm going to blame their vast beauty for my lack of awareness in their presence...I know, I know...gag you with a spoon.)

I’ve heard people express that they wake up after twenty years of marriage to a person in their bed they don’t even recognize. And I wonder if they ever saw their mate at all? Do we really see each other? Do we ever truly “connect with the other?”

tall penguin


Umlud said...

Maybe it's because I grew up for much of my life in East Asia (or not), but I never actually take notice of someone's eye color (unless it is a really stunning color of bright ice-blue or emerald green). For everyone else, I automatically assume they have brown eyes.

This has gotten me into trouble before. However, I even have to constantly remind myself that my father's eyes are green (but not that emerald green).

But that's just my own personal "quirk". (The color of one's eyes is just not that important to me, I suppose.)

onehundredfires said...

i understand what you mean about this. in the travels esalen will be a stop. probably the first one. gestalt is some pretty interesting stuff. they do a lot of it there.

no. we don't notice each other. we are too far up our own asses to do so. its goddamned sad if you ask me. more than the eyes though is what they lead to - the soul.

i think the tendency unconscious though it may be is trying to find some part of ourselves in the other person so that we can "connect". fucking waste of time. it isn't about us, its about them, hearing them, seeing them and doing so not for our validation but for the greater purpose of understanding them without judgment. (way harder than it sounds) maybe that means that we don't get to 'connect' with them like we want but I think what it does mean is that we know them. i think i like that better.