What do you learn from those you meet?

It is Sunday morning I am in bed reading the Guardian on my IPad, I opened the page about a new discovery and this picture hit me with a bang, it was as though I knew the person in the picture. I have always been fascinated by eyes and looking into them, discovering hidden messages within.

My teacher once told me that to the awake mind everyone, person or being, that we meet has something to teach us, if we only have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Are we awake enough to learn anything from our new friend?

Most discoveries, in the modern world, seem to be at a minute level. I spend my life reading about quantum, atomic, and neuropsychological discoveries and breakthroughs. It is as though my vision has become introspective, thinking in ever smaller ways as I discover more and more about ‘inner space’. The outer space, outside of the body in the physical world has been the provence of physics scientists, geographers, travellers, discoverers, and, of course astronomers and so on.

According to the Guardian…

…a new species of monkey has been identified in Africa, by John and Teres Hart of Yale University, only the second time such a discovery has been made on the continent in 28 years. Lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) has a naked face and a mane of long blonde hairs, and is described by the researchers who identified it as shy and quiet. It lives on the ground and in trees in a 6,500 square mile habitat of the lowland rainforests in the centre of the DRC between the middle Lomami (the inspiration for its name) and the upper Tshuapa Rivers. Its diet is mostly fruit and vegetation.

The thing that amazes and captivates me about the, what do I call it, my new brother/sister, is that when I look in his/her eyes, I see the identity of someone that I know, a sense of belonging to something bigger than just the human race. It reminds me of the quote,

Strangers are family that we have yet to get to know

You see when I look into the eyes of Lesula it is no different to meeting any person or client for the first time. When I see someone I look into their eyes, the eyes after all are the window to the soul, and I ask myself two questions, the first is ‘who are you?’ and the second is ‘what is it that you have to teach me?’

The problem that I see for us as humans is that we have a tendency to be so self obsessed, that we are busy telling or teaching other people about what we think or believe. To have an awake mind is to be more concerned with listening and learning from what we experience.

Sometimes it can be easy to think that we know it all, that we understand the world out there and that we know all about life. Often we need to make a genuine discovery of things that we knew nothing about to rediscover the magic of being alive. Discovering new things extends our knowledge but also shows how little we know and how much we have yet to learn, perhaps a good reason to maintain some humility.

Of course on our life journey the discoveries that we make are often about us and how we think, feel and, respond and this is as it should be. As we wake to our selves we are ever more aware and able to grow, change and develop.

Including Lesula into my world makes me think about how much I have yet to learn.

Two questions:
What do you see when you look into the eyes of our cousin Lesula, and
What do you allow yourself to learn from the people that you meet?

Take care, may all beings be happy

Sean x

Photo credited to Hart JA, Detwiler KM, Gilbert CC/PA

By Sean

My name is Sean Orford. I am a therapist based in the UK, working for a variety of public and private organisations. I am also a speaker, writer and published author. I hope you enjoy my weekly blog. If you'd like to know more then please do get in touch.

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