Today I was on Pilot Butte, a scenic tourist spot, and two well-dressed women were trying to take a selfie photo. I offered to take the photo for them, and Nattie introduced herself and agreed, so we fiddled around with her new camera phone a bit looking for the little image of a button. I took a couple of pictures, they both thanked me, and we all expected that to be the end of our pleasant little encounter. But then we started chatting, as almost all the people here in Bend do, and one thing led to another, but then the other woman, whose name I’ll leave out, mentioned how God was guiding her every action. Rather spontaneously, she said she was putting all of her actions in God’s hands, and how she was now paying exclusive attention to God, and praying to him constantly.
Many people will back off when even a very properly dressed and well presented woman starts talking about God, but I don’t, at least since attending improv classes, spiritual awareness seminars, Socrates Cafe discussions, Band of Brothers meetings, professional helpers’ seminars and some other similar social gatherings. Nowadays, instead of challenging people in any way on their beliefs I go wholly into their world view, and participate to see where it will go. I am totally open to what my personal beliefs are while people are explaining theirs, but I don’t hesitate to see things the way they are explaining them. I try diligently to see things as they see them.
Perhaps this searching human realities is like my exploring into the unknown unknowns of the physical world, that I have blogged about many times. That search can go to some strange places, like pursuing cuttlefish in the ocean just south of Australia, where I saw the very limits the animal world has exploited in an effort to visually disguise itself. All the same, humans will go even further in their explorations of mental reality than physical reality permits the cuttlefish. So, I go with them. To feel comfortable doing these explorations I must abandon my confirmation bias that I am right about whatever the subject at hand is, and instead assume that the person I am talking to has a good understanding of their reality. Yes they do, once you make the assumptions that they have made, and then make the conclusions, and the behavior that follows. The people are coherent wholes, and will explain themselves well, if given a chance.
Part of this exploration has led to a deeper understanding of kindness, because it is impossible to be kind to another being until you have an understanding of what it is they are trying to accomplish.