The presence of others is …

… the simple and tranquil acknowledgment of the existential reality of others.

Please don’t be misled by the words simple and tranquil. They may evoke the impression that this aspect of IP is easy or unimportant. In many cases it appears to be very difficult. Who, living in a complex society and era, has still access to simplicity in life and who, in these noisy modern days, still possesses a tranquil mind? So ‘simple’ and ‘tranquil’ may not be so easy after all. Yet they potentially can become easy when the foundations of the IP practice (mindfulness, alignment and breath) start to lodge a spontaneous quality presence in our consciousness.

Also the importance is often overlooked and neglected in the rush of daily life and in the face of numerous dramatic events soliciting our attention. However, the absence of this simple acknowledgment provokes a subtle pain very deep in the psyche. Unattended, this deep subtle pain tends to ferment into more acute symptoms of disequilibrium, which in their turn will seek to get compensation by substitute needs. The gratification of these substitute needs offers a temporary relief from the more acute symptoms and this whole outlet covers up the more subtle issue of existential self-denial.

Recognizing the presence of (the) other(s) is a sound footing for exploring the subsequent relational stages of IP like (7) Gestalt , (8) Interrelational dynamics, (9) Group dynamics, and (11) Energy exchanges, for at least 2 reasons.

  1. When the existential reality is accepted, a subtle yet deep calm can install in the self and the relationship on which further and wider exploration can be build.
  2. By honoring the existential reality, the whole compensating mechanism of disequilibrium and substitute needs comes gradually to rest and has thus less interference, causing less confusion, with the exploration of other relational dynamics.

The means of acknowledgment can be very casual: a moment of eye contact, a friendly tap on the shoulder, a meaningful presence in a hand shake, a light kiss, a sincere attention, an interested question, a common project, a connected facial expression, a response to a question or a need, a soul-filled silence, respecting a boundary, accepting a limitation,  … and thousands of other possible acts, gestures and states of being. The level of acknowledgment sure depends on one’s own level of Self realization. You can not acknowledge in others what you have not realized within yourself.

In 2016, I wrote this poem as a reminder of the nature our existential reality: You are not who you think you are …