01 Jul Being Present to Connect
I like to share this quote by James Allen, from his book As A Man Thinketh:
“Mind is the master power, that moulds and makes; and Man is mind, and evermore he takes,
The tool of thought, and, shaping what He wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills;
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass, environment is but his looking-glass.”
On the last phrase, “He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass, environment is but his looking glass. ” brings to mind that if we choose to be a recluse, then we are likely to end up with a life akin to sitting on the sideline watching the world goes by. When we disconnect, notwithstanding whatever potential which may bring forth a thousand joys (or ills), we in effect surrender our rights to take an active part in our lives, to shape it, and instead, become a victim of circumstance, letting life “happens” to us. This is almost passive aggressive.
This subject is opportune right now as I received a few feedbacks on my absence after the initial post. My excuse of being an infrequent connector to social media was met with ‘you think you live in your own private island ah?!” That jolted me out, and hey, hey, I am back!
No man or woman is an island. Myself included. Moreover, I am one who believe that ALL living beings are connected, that All beings live to connect, or connect to live. Everything or anything we do has an impact on something or someone. It all comes back eventually in one form or another. “What affects one directly affects all indirectly” said Martin Luther King. Another “we are all connected” quote nicely sums up my belief.
What’s the big deal about connection anyway?
The illustration here is lifted from Alice in Wonderland novel. She is prying through the looking glass, seeking desperately to connect, to perhaps her sense of wonder. Connection is important and what drives us, as it did so for Alice.
When we connect, we engage, when we engage we generally feel right, with a sense of belonging. Although our engagement could be with people, places, food, drinks, animals, or even our favourite apps, I like to focus on the engagement that leaves us a longer lasting effect. A good bowl of ramen engaged my sensory palette for at most an hour, then it’s all forgotten. Here, I am looking at meaningful connection. The effect lingers. What that is differs for everyone. It very much goes to what your values are. Whatever they are, one commonality is, when we encounter meaningful connection, we elevate our consciousness.
Building on the ‘we are all connected’ belief, it must follows then that collectively we would have more elevated consciousness around us if there are more meaningful connections happening here and there. Imagine a world where many more of us seek ﬁrst to understand before demanding to be understood, conﬂicts averted, wars prevented, lives saved, joys bloomed. Love is all around. I can almost break into song and dance now!
As a coach, I like to believe I play a small part in elevating our consciousness, one conversation at a time. And that to me is the big deal about connection.
What is Meaningful Connection? Meaningful connection is present when there is openness, authenticity, trust, love, common purpose, and presence. Presence is one critical ingredient of success, towards establishing meaningful connection. It is critical as it is almost the ﬁrst, sort of an enabler for the other ingredients to follow.
However in our current state of play, in the world of twitter, snapchat, instagram, facebook linkedin, whasapp, and many more, these great tools that elevated our state of connectivity to never have been before, have also the equal and opposite force of creating an absence of presence, to a whole new level.
An Absence of Presence
It is ironic that whilst we are living in the age of technology, where we have literally at our ﬁnger tips tools that help us connect, almost anywhere, with virtually anybody, on anything, at any time, and yet often times, there is this sense of Dis-connect.
How many of you sense this? It could be when you were having coffee with a friend, and you started noticing your companion was not ALL there, his attention ﬂeeting, divided between you who were physically here, and his phone, bringing him virtually miles away. Or that moment where we all felt so alive and wrapped up in our common jubilance, then only to have someone broke the magic by whipping up smartphones to take many many most instagrammable shots to ‘capture that precious moment’ and post them instantly. Presence lost. Connection gone.
We are now truly living in the age of connection. Connected to Everything, yet often, really, Nothing. Connection is ﬂeeting. Technology, our great medium of connectivity has the affect of desensitising us from connecting to what’s in front of us, the here and now. I dare say we are at risk of living in this new age of Dis-connect, in a world where the absence of presence is prevalent, if we are not mindful of the fragile state of presence. Presence is becoming increasingly rare these days. Our presence is truly precious now.
If you agree, then what can we do about it? I for one, would look into areas within my control. I commit to maintain connection through mindful presence. In order to live my life NOT through the looking glass, in order for me to be a fully participative member of the environment, and who knows, to even one day, perhaps shape the environment, the 1st critical ingredient, is I believe I HAVE to be Present, in the here and now, with you.
With presence comes focus. With focus, establishing meaningful connection is no longer an “if” but a “when”, and in real time, fruitful partnerships and collaborations on common purposes can be established. Who knows where we go from there. At least I commit to try.
I invite you to try being present to connect, at least 1 more time than usual in your day, with people you are curious about or like and haven’t really been present before, and notice what’s that like.
Published by Su-Yin on Linkedin on (1 July 2019)