Beyond the surface of our immediate observations, every subtlety of feeling, every momentary glance, and every casual remark conveys information. We are prone to miss the finer points of our behaviour and interactions, because we overlook or disregard what is always there. If we are watchful, however, there is much we can learn. Here is an example of what I mean:
A client explained that, for the last four years, she had experienced an enjoyable working relationship with one of her closest colleagues. One which often extended to socialising together. During their most recent project she noticed a feeling she didn’t like: an envious need to compete. I talked to her at the time and we agreed that the best option was simply to observe it further. Next time it happened, look more closely and feel more knowingly.
Six weeks later, at the office Christmas party, she happened to glimpse something about her colleague, which she had never noticed before: an immaturity which required others to make more of an effort to stay connected. It’s possible that that’s what she had felt weeks earlier. But maybe not. In any case, she is now a little wiser, and will undoubtedly see more as she continues to observe. Eventually the answers will come, in the form of an insight, a connection, or a feeling. In the meantime, she has an ever-increasing awareness because she is paying more attention to herself and her environment, and seeing beyond the surface of everyday life.