Fifteen years ago during a private meeting with my meditation teacher I noticed his stillness. It was deeper than his physical lack of movement. As we talked, he was attentive and engaged. And he wasn’t reacting to what I said. He was listening. Then responding.
Usually in conversation one person will say something and it will trigger a memory or experience we’ve had and we’ll share back and forth. Sharing our experience is a way of feeling known by another person. Social trust and connection are essential to us and it is lovely when we have friends to share with in this way. Often we don’t feel known because the other person is paying more attention to the memories being triggered in them than to us. We aren’t fully present to others or to our present moment experience when there is so much going on in our thoughts.
I have more of a sense now of stillness. I’ve healed my “triggers” and released the stored trauma from past events. I know myself and it isn’t so important that other people know me. Because of this, it is also safer to let other people really know me. I don’t depend on someone else knowing me or seeing who I really am or approving of me. I am self reliant and that makes me both more trusting of others and safer for other people. I don’t need anything from the person I am with. I am okay no matter what is going on with them. I enjoy those fully engaged connections and conversations and I am fine if that’s not how it is.
In my work, I hold a safe space for courageous people to heal trauma. Presence is what creates safety. Safety IS the treatment.