The term intersection usually refers to a place where two streets cross each other. In the intersection, it is very important that certain guidelines be observed by all parties approaching it to ensure that traffic moves easily and safely.
As I reflect on the concept of an intersection, I can see that these convergences occur much more frequently in our lives than when we are traveling. Intersections occur every time we encounter another person and, in these moments, our mental/ emotional state is especially important as we take in what is occurring in the course of action.
Naturally and, of course, importantly, our first reaction/response to what is happening in the intersection will center on what we are feeling. Our first responsibility is always to take care of ourselves. But it seems there is an additional way we can help ourselves in this instance and that is by making a very important assumption about everything the other person is saying and doing.
And here is what I think that assumption should be. Regardless of how any verbal or nonverbal communication from another might feel to us, we need to assume the other person is ALWAYS acting from the highest intention he is capable of holding in that moment. And, as a side note also present in the situation, the other person’s perception of what is the fairest and most authentic and even most generous response to us may well be (and often is) VERY different from ours.
And that is why we often don’t GET that the words or behavior of another is well-intentioned. Sometimes even very generously intentioned. We hold ourselves hostage, chained to the emotional default reaction rising up in us that our previous experiences have produced during similar circumstances.
I realize that I am suggesting that we act on something that we truly may not be seeing or perceiving in this moment...and, that is, the loving intention of the other to the best possible degree he can manage it. Holding the belief I am suggesting calls for a beautiful sense of trust from us that everyone is always trying to act from the generous impulse to be a loving person.
I truly believe that this is how we all enter life. With joy and celebration...with excitement and gratitude and appreciation. However, our earth school experiences often offer significant detours from this loving path. Consequently, we all carry wounds and scars waiting to be healed.
As we attempt to heal those wounds, we all find our own ways of making sense of things. And, because we are unique individuals, the sense we make of things may be very different from what others envision. There is also the fact that we have not walked in their shoes and are, therefore, not cognizant of the extent of their pain or the factors complicating their lives. Nor have they walked in ours.
Each time I pause and gently ask another person to help me understand what his reaction meant, I am humbled by the explanation I receive of the beauty of what was intended in that moment. A beauty that is often not visible to me because of my own emotional reaction to something that has triggered my distress.
As a result of this I am now choosing to hold the strong intention of assuming the beauty of what is sourcing the words or actions of another and I am also intending to offer compassion and understanding for any distress he is experiencing.
I am convinced that underneath the words we speak and actions we take towards each other there is always a beautiful, loving child wanting to interact with the glorious world around him with grace and fervor and delight. And I very much want to feel and appreciate the innocence of this tender caring.
This profound awareness offers me a new guide ensuring a measure of ease and safety as I move through the interweaving and intersecting of what may appear to be a view so different and dissonant from my own.
Perhaps we can ease the intensity of all of our human INTERSECTIONS by remembering the intentions sourced by our always loving hearts. 💗
image from Elizabeth Elkin's Painting a Day: trueartgallery.blogspot.com