I recently read the paper.
"All real life is encounter" On the sustainable relevance to be surprised and affected" by Peter F. Schmid.
I highly recommend it; it has precipitated an internal dialogue for me about encounters, and for reasons that I am not fully clear, it somehow seems very important and relevant to me, in both the micro sense of me as a person and in a macro sense in a polarised world where people cannot seem to or want to meet another person where they are.
I suppose I have not thought much about genuinely encountering someone, assuming it was easy and natural. We engage people daily, so it seems a skill that doesn't require honing, but I wonder how often we genuinely encounter them.
It has started making me think about how I meet people, even people in my daily life. Do I bring my whole self? Which bits am I withholding or distorting? Am I accepting the entire other, and am I communicating that acceptance?
I am starting to wonder about the onion layers of our personalities. The various skins we have and that we – at times – shed, of how many I have shed over the years. Layers that I once thought were useful, sometimes protecting me, sometimes elevating me, but in truth, were all obstacles to genuine encounters with another human being.
Some layers have long since been shed because of lessons learned through experience and growth or because of some sudden dramatic realization. I am also wondering what layers I have yet to clear and how much more shedding till - finally - the authentic me is present, fully encountering all I meet with, with no veil between us.
I wonder about the layers that are there, that I cannot even see, that are out of my awareness. These are layers that are in place because of some deeper buried truths or fears that I hold that I am presently blind to. Will I look back ten years from now at these now-removed layers and wonder how I was not able to see them, just as I do now with previously shed layers?
Like I said, the paper has stayed with me, and I am still chewing it over.