What if everyone were as conscious as you?
We See Outside. We Guess at Inside.
This is also a leap of faith: To think the person in the crowd or the car next to you, or the cube next to you is experiencing life in much the same way you do.
The person in line at Dunn Bros, the person who shares your house or apartment. These people are thinking about all the experiences of life just as deeply as you are. These people are processing the latest first-century brutalities from the so-called Islamic State, they are responding to sunlight, to a spring breeze, to awkward comments and thinking about all sorts of things.
Just like you.
The difficulty with this line of thinking is that I mostly leave it at “idiot driver” without wondering what’s behind the tailgating. I see people acting and I judge them. Rarely do I follow a behavior back to wonder at what might be driving their driving. It simply doesn’t occur to me.
A recent talk with a hospice chaplain made me start to wonder at the complex reactions and consciousness in the people I meet. My friend was talking about how his goal is simply to be present at the bedside of the dying. Often a family can all be there. Sometimes there is only one or two. Sometimes he is alone with the person. What often happens is that he simply listens—because people need to talk. They may talk on and on about nothing, but the talking clears the air somehow. The talking makes way for…something. Even if the content is meaningless, it is still signifying something. If only, “I am still here.”
Not dead yet. Breath is the proof. And maybe a word–a window to inside–with those last exhalations.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston