Why we are here

August 29, 2007

gorgeous flower

I’ve got a good friend who I recently discovered has a blog of his own. Please take a look…go ahead. Anyway I read a post there last week that made me think about why I do the things that I do. Being a human being involves certain complexities and often one is swayed to behave in a certain way according to rewards and/or punishments. You do one thing to get another, looking ahead you feel as if you can barely keep afloat as life keeps handing you new obstacles to overcome. And there are times when life is simply good, friends remember your birthday, the boss gives a word of encouragement, the dishes are done when you get home! The movement of being human can take one across the gamut of experiences.

Thrust into this stream one might wonder on occasion, “why am I here?” Fortunately there is no easy answer to this question and depends on the individual to begin to broach the question. Inspired by Rob’s post (sorry I can’t find the exact one) I’ve got an example from my own life on how to begin to find a meaning to this existence.

Since I spend so much of my waking life at work this has become the perfect playground for experimentation. In the library I can be found behind a desk and in a typical day I can come into contact with hundreds of people (both staff and patrons). My role is to provide assistance in filling a need. Someone may want to know how to get online, or where the books for ancient Egypt may be found. Underlying these interactions however is simple human connection. This is where I like to play.

It goes like this: patron approaches the desk where I am sitting to ask a question. I turn my full attention to this being and let the communication flow between us. I practice the fine arts of listening and observing all while providing eye contact and sound cues to display my interest and understanding. I don’t know if I can answer their question but I can be present with them in that moment as another human being. In ways subtle and non-verbal I assure them that I too am another being in this human experience. The question is answered (or not) and we part ways.

Here’s the amazing part: the lightness that comes into my heart with the meeting, the knowing that the connection was felt on both sides and understood at a level that may not be conscious. The two of us in a moment sharing a relationship and being there with each other. My work is done! And really all I had to do was completely show up.

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