If a neighbor is walking by, seemingly intentionally keeping his gaze away from you, focusing on the sidewalk in front of him, or anything else except you, so as not to make eye contact, what do you do?
Do you allow him to pass, keeping your own attention similarly away?
If you do, then it seems, on the surface, that ‘nothing’ will happen. There will be no interaction, and you’ll both go about your business.
Except, that’s the trap, that’s the fallacy. If you ‘do nothing’, in fact, many things are happening.
If you allow him to pass, that is something. You are ‘allowing him to pass’. Your are feeling some aversion to having the interaction, probably fear of some kind. Fear of not getting your own ‘stuff’ done on time; fear of what he might say or do, etc. You are becoming more stressed as you work to avoid these fears. (Actually, each time you do this, you feed the fear and make it stronger.)
Plus, possibly, he is doing the same thing. So all of that, times two.
But there’s more. Much, much more is happening by ‘allowing him to pass’. In fact the very phrase ‘allowing him to pass’ is actually your own ego’s rationalization of the situation, to make you feel more comfortable with this highly negative, direct action. It is not ‘just something tiny and subtle’. Your ego, your shadow, doesn’t want you to become consciously aware of what you’re missing.
And what you’re missing, what is not occurring when you ‘allow him to pass’, is something quite tangible indeed. The absence of something is something.
That is the humanity, the love, the vulnerability, the ‘yes’, the exchange of pleasantries, the endorphins, the warmth, and the positivity that flows from simply saying “Good morning.”
And when you say it with gusto, with sincerity, when you break his aversion with an obvious, open smile, and a welcoming that invites him into your space, that shows him that he has nothing at all to fear from you, and in fact he can trust you, and even stop to engage further with you … when you open yourself up to that, he will immediately drop his defenses, because he is safe.
All from two simple words, delivered sincerely.
Sure, he may reject you. That’s possible. That’s the ‘risk’ you take, in order to possibly experience a far more energizing and loving moment.
Rejection rarely happens. It’s more common in a crowded urban situation – but even there, on New York City streets and trains, I find plenty of moments of beauty such as this.
Here’s something else: the more you practice delight, the better you get at it, and the less scary things feel.
It can be as easy as just two simple words.
Even one. Try saying ‘Yes!’ to something new today, internally or externally.
You might just surprise yourself.