An act of creation!

Paying full attention makes us – and them – more human

When we pay full attention to another person, free of judgement or comparison we are treating the other as an equal and, where there is a disparity in power in our favour, increasing their power.  For children this conscious act of empowerment is essential if we want them to grow fully into their own power, which today many parents do want, and society certainly needs.

Thucydides is the source of the quote “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.  It is tempting to use our power – through reward and punishment – to achieve our own aims not realising the true, long-term cost when we don’t empower.

When we believe are aims are in the best interests of the other, then we can readily justify this to ourselves.

Girl with goats - Grace Crowley - 1928

Girl with goats - Grace Crowley - 1928

Yet, when we do pay full attention we are participating in an act of creation.  We are making the other person more human – not only in our own eyes because those eyes are more open to the new and the different – but also because we increase the other’s capacity to be self-determining, a defining characteristic of being human.

When the other recognises what is being freely given then they also participate in this act of creation by responding with gratitude, another uniquely human characteristic.

For this to happen we need only offer our full attention - and be patient - to allow the other to recognise what is being offered.  Once this happens then this act of human creation can once more lift us up out of the pragmatism of hard power and into the hopefulness of collaboration.

This is where our future lies.

John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here.

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John Corrigan