Excerpt About Openness

Openness in a Relationship of True Personalness

In addition, to have a relationship of true personalness, true contact—whether you have eye contact, physical contact, or just consciousness contact —both the quality of presence and the communication need to also have an openness in which neither person is trying to defend himself or herself, or selfishly trying to gain an advantage. Instead, each person is committed to being authentic and allowing both parties to find out what is possible for the relationship. For this to happen, we need to approach relationship in the same way that we approach our own personal experience—from a perspective of openness and curiosity, so that we can find out what our relationship is. We can say to ourselves, “What is this relationship? Who are we? What is happening right now between us? I am curious to know. I want to know myself and I want to know you. And I want to know myself with you. I want to know how you feel with me and how the two of us, as we come to know each other, feel together, because these are important truths and I value knowing them.” This attitude requires an openness that has no defensiveness, does not try to protect itself. It needs the kind of trust that takes time and honest communication—trust that comes from a sincere interest that arises out of the connection because we care about the quality of the contact. This openness and caring is bound to bring up in us a kind of vulnerability and tenderness that most human beings feel ill at ease with. But we cannot be transparent to the divine in its erotic dimension if we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. “Vulnerable” means “not defended”; when we are not protecting ourselves, we are free to feel our delicacy. We are free to feel the exquisiteness and softness of our consciousness. If our consciousness is thick, opaque, and dense, then it is self-protective. It is not vulnerable, it is not transparent; subtle qualities and forms in our experience don’t freely arise. And most important, we cannot completely receive the other person. We can’t feel them, we can’t recognize them, and we can’t see their uniqueness. We can’t see who they are.

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