I was talking to a dear friend the other day about how to be present for others. Everyone’s had the experience of sitting with someone but not really being present to what they are saying. You are physically there but there’s a sort of ‘half listening’ that’s going on. There’s also the commentary or stream of thoughts going on in your mind.
What’s at the heart of it is to deal with your own stuff. Through the acceptance of what is arising in you there is space created that allows you to be completely present to them. It’s like when your cup is full, there is no space; but if your cup is empty there is space for them. Your emptiness comes from your ability to abide in the present moment and allow what is arising in you to arise. To not be met with any resistance, or to indulging and encouraging whatever is arising.
It brought up the fact that I was not present for my friend just before she committed suicide. When she need me the most I was not present and available for her. It’s not that I carry around any regrets, I see now that it went the way it went. Ultimately I’m incredibly grateful for the lessons it brought me. What I see now was that I was so wrapped up in avoiding my own shit that I was unable to be truly present for her. Most of the time all that people need is space to be and feel what they are feeling, to be what they are being.
If you are empty and present to them then it allows for this to arise in them too. So… you first, like you would put on an air mask first in an airplane before helping others.