Nothing else may cause us as many troubles as our social relations.
We imagine how our ideal, favorable selves would look like, and we create a mask (or as the specialists of the soul say: a Persona) from the features, which we find nice. The mask of the perfect husband, wife, family dad, family mom, ideal friend or colleague.

Driven from our beliefs and firmly held opinions, we build an image of ourselves and we present it to our surroundings: “I am a God-fearing family man or woman, I go to church every Sunday.”, “I am an exemplary absentee of work, my boss handles me exceptionally”, “I am so clever”, “I am well informed, because I know what happened today in politics.”

We censure our features, which oppose our (ideal) images of ourselves: “I cannot feel or think this way, because it is not right – it goes against my convictions”, “I cannot do this, because it would not correspond with the image created about me” – and we entirely exile them into our shadows: all my features, which I regard with disgust and loath, disappear in my “shadow-personality”.

So, if I hate someone, maybe I am only doing it, because they did not return my love. The unreturned love can easily turn into hatred. My extreme reactions show that the features, which I hate so much are also present in me, but I exiled them into my own shadow-personality, I declared them as unwanted.

No wonder I became disturbed: I no longer live as one person, but inside me lives the dream of my ideal, my desired “self” and its counterpart at the same time: the not-me, the embodiment of all my hated emotions, thoughts and my deeds – the shadow of myself. I fight you, while in reality, I fight my own shadow, my hidden, shameful personality.

When we meet someone, one of our fellow humans, we set our attitudes according to what we see through the glasses of our prejudices. “I already know him – I know, that he is like this and that. Light-minded, not trustworthy, treacherous, dangerous” – we tag him.

When we label our human relations, we see them disfigured through the glasses of our mind-made labels.

“He is not like me. He believes in things, which are not important for me. He is so strange, different from me” – we isolate ourselves from people with different beliefs.

Sometimes we isolate ourselves so much that in the name of “our only holy belief” we are capable of drawing a sword and killing the one, whom we, as a matter of fact, should love.

Is it not strange? Sometimes we only long to meet with someone, so we can measure, compare, label and judge them. Because the little “selves” in us, the egos love to compare things and it feels good to them, when they can call themselves superior, more beautiful, better, smarter, more successful than the other fellow human.  The ego is racing, and the stake is this: I am better than you.

Me > You

But it can happen, that it takes place the other way around, when “I” look up to the other, because they are better, more beautiful, more successful – secretly I envy them. I may even have inferiority complex – I am not as worthy as they are.

Me < You

Whatever formula has the ego, which feeds on judging uses, the point is that it cannot treat the other as an equal partner of the same rank and level, only in a sub- or superordinate relation.

We connect to each other through our mind-made notions created about others.

Not a man meets another man, not a soul meets another soul, but the notions and imaginations created about each other collide. “Come, let us meet, because my ego needs it!”

Some people make compliments to us –  but we keep acting as we are uncomfortable, even though they are secretly very flattering.

We like those, who say nice words about us.

Some people hurt us, they put our embarrassing features into spotlight, those attributes, which we judged as unwanted, and so we maintain a hostile attitude towards these people. The quality of our meetings is always defined by the labels and preconceptions about the other person.

But the truth is, we are just the same. The same consciousness, which is receptive to life and alert, shines behind our eyes we, differ only in the outward forms of our personalities.

Me = You

The greatest gift you can ever give on a meeting: your complete, undivided attention towards your fellow human.

If you listen your fellow with acceptance and mindfulness, new dimensions will open up for you: you will see in your fellow the suffering and rejoicing person, the nice and the beautiful.

Because everybody is beautiful the way they are: a unique and unrivaled blossom of life. If you are receptive, you open up, your life will become more colorful and will be filled with contents.

You develop in yourself the qualities of sympathy, empathy and love. After a while, you may just feel like giving a hug to the stranger next to you and saying: “I love you, my dear fellow human! I love you, because you are just like me. You and I are one.”

Make it your habit, that you show your respect to your fellow humans by listening to them with alert attention! When you meet someone and spend time with them, then give them your complete and honest attention for this while.

Open up yourself and completely accept the person you meet. When they talk to you, do not form and polish the answer in your mind, but let the words enter you. And then, in your relations,

not the ego meets an ego, but a human soul meets itself.

You can start the practice now.

Look your fellow deep in the eyes, open up to them with honesty: “Hi there! I am here with you and I am gladly listening to you!”

And then respect them with all your attention.

This is all what you have to do.

Attention is primary and ultimate. Because You are the attention looking through your eyes as consciousness.

(Excerpt from “The Art of Mindfulness: Jump into Consciousness” by Ervin K. Kery)