The last two days I spent on airports, planes and in similar social settings, on my way to co-facilitating a retreat in Virginia, US. And, as I often do in such situations, I spent certain amount of time sitting and observing people, hearing their conversations… And again I had this sense that somehow most of the conversations seem to be about proving to each other how right we are. As if the main impulse underneath most of our behavior and self-expression in social environments is about showing to ourselves and to others a certain image of ourselves, which I could narrow down to the common denominator of: “I am right. I figured it all out. I am cool. I master life…” Or perhaps the common denominator of it all actually is: “I am worthy.”
Not that I am a big fan of Margaret Thatcher, but I do like this quote of hers: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you are not.” My understanding is that trying to cover one’s vulnerability by putting on the mask of being cool, being right, being a master of life… actually points at some deep wounds in our hearts.
And it is not only puzzling to look around and see how disturbingly deeply wounded most of us seem to be, but it is also heartbreaking to be aware of this deeply wounded human civilization of ours as a whole. Reminds me of Gabor Mate who said that we will probably not find a non-traumatized person on the planet anymore, apart from perhaps a few in well-hidden indigenous cultures. A civilization of beings walking around with deep wounds and scars from our childhoods, doing our best to pretend to be what we think we should be in order to be worthy of love and acceptance. Doing all this in order to hopefully matter. Someday.
I so hope we will heal ourselves a bit and then wound the next generation a bit less, and perhaps one day end up in a society in which there will be so much acceptance, respect, love, care… that we will all, spontaneously, be able to meet each other in our openness, innocence, vulnerability, nakedness… And there will be no need for masks, protective mechanism, hiding our hearts underneath some thick personas.
And until then, I am clear that the idea of connecting with people who are right, who know it all, who are cool, who figured it all out, is really not an exciting one to me. What I am really looking for is a companionship with people who, like me, don’t know… A community of people that are exploring the mystery of life with humility and innocent curiosity, staring in awe into the mystery of life revealing itself in front of our eyes. Yes, I seek the company of not-knowers, the company of curious and humble explorers of the unknown, waling attentively, step by step, from one moment of this mystery on to the next one.