Saying For Today: What we really want from others is not to unveil their strangeness, but to meet it, enter it in the same union in which our strangeness is entered by the other.
All real living is meeting.
*Martin Buber. I and Thou.
Here, Buber means by "meeting" when the other is met in his or her sacredness, another subject corresponding to our being subject. Sometimes, I refer to this as "connection, "communion," "holy communion," "togetherness," "being-with," "intimacy," "heart-with-heart," ... This meeting is, then, not merely a meeting. This meeting, also, does not annul the otherness of the other, but actualizes it and enhances awareness of it, as well as potential communion with it. I can turn from the otherness of the other, or I can welcome it, allowing the otherness I am to interpenetrate with the otherness of the other, and this other in whom I find otherness dissolved in oneness of Being, for oneness of Source. For the Totally Other births this otherness we all share, recognized or not by us.
* * *
One of the underlying meanings of "strange" is, arising from the Latin, "foreign, external, from without." Literally, the other we see to be "outside us," outside the familiar territory we are equipped to see the other within. But the otherness of the other we find does not fit that territory, we cannot find it on the map.
When we meet something or someone we cannot fit into our mental pattern, literally our brain, we may get uncomfortable and find a way to make it fit supposedly, but in supposedly making it fit, we have not made it fit. We have created something other to relieve our anxiety. In another word, we have failed at appreciating the Mystery the other is, the other appearing foreign to us, our experience, our understanding.
The other being strange, through quiet acceptance can receive integration into our mind and body, but we cannot understand the otherness and never explain it. This foreign to us, even when fully integrated, is integrated, not converted into any construct. The unknown remains unknown. If we try to know the otherness, we violate its holiness, its beauty, its Source.
So, we have only one of two choices, embrace the foreigness of the other and appreciate it, not merely tolerate it, or not embrace it and lose the beauty of it being integrated and appreciated, even reverenced, and it enhancing us as part of the holy communion we are.
We cannot choose not to meet this Mystery of othernesss, for Mystery, Strangeness, is integral to Life. The other in his or her or its otherness appears, yet within the appearance is this strangeness. See, we are not merely appearances, we are Mysteries. We are bathed in Strangeness, immersed in Otherness, and this Otherness is holy and to be honored, leading us to adore that within the other we cannot know but can love.
* * *
I find a strangeness about her. I explore that strangeness. I press onward with questions, challenging. I observe responses verbal but, also, nonverbal. I do not want to press too hard, so I use humor as a means to encourage and soften the process.
We talk, laugh, and I keep asking question after question. She struggles to find words to answer with any preciseness, she struggles to look eye-to-eye. We end, again, as always, smiling and with the familiar strangeness present. Yet, the strangeness is part of the joy we share, the playfulness that moves and will not let anyone take hold of it.
I do not feel my questions an attempt to eliminate the strangeness, the elusive yet seductive Otherness. I was seeking to affirm it and allow some sense of practical clarity to come forth of matters she struggles to see and give shape to. - There is a mystery, even Mystery, about us, but within the Mystery is so much to know and to show, if we choose.
I left, glad to have allowed the strangeness I am to meet the strangeness of the other. To let the strangeness kind of hang in the air, and questions float around without an answer in sight - possibly, that is part of this quality of Otherness that will not yield to our grasp for clarification. We need to let strangeness be strangeness, for Spirit unveils Spirit. We need to let ourselves somewhat be strangers to one another in our relationships. We may think this detracts from closeness, but by welcoming the strangeness of the other, deeper intimacy becomes present.
* * *
What we really want from others is not to unveil their strangeness, but to meet it, enter it in the same union in which our strangeness is entered by the other. We want to feel the Unknown alive in and through them, and know It beyond knowing. We want to enjoy the Otherness, and allow the same Otherness in us to meet and commune in an original, undiluted, unexplained Oneness. And, in some way, we find this Mystery we meet in the otherness of another is enhanced through reverence, and this reverence is the wisdom of Love. We find we each are a particular, lived radiance of this one Sun, this loving and lovable Grace.
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