Last year Nish and I spent a few days in a tiny village in the mountains of southern Spain called Mijas Pueblo. It’s a special place; crystal clear air, whitewashed walls, terracotta pots spilling with geraniums, donkey carts, sprawling views out across the ocean and delicious padrón peppers!
Prior to our trip, I’d had a few Spanish lessons. And apart from learning how to ask: ‘Is this vegetarian?’, one of the most useful things I learnt was that greeting is a very important aspect of Spanish culture. In fact, the Spanish think foreigners are strange because we don’t say hello enough!
So I tried it out. On Lucia’s instructions, I smiled with a ‘Hola, buenos días!’ to everyone I encountered in the street, in shops, cafes etc, and… shock/amazement… everyone responded (Hey, I live in London where we mostly ignore each other). It was wonderful! I felt so connected and part of the community. It reminded me of a section in the KRI Level 2 Authentic Relationships manual, p38, that says:
‘A fundamental skill that supports authentic relationships – as an extended experience and development of your personality that you relay to others – is the ability to effectively give and receive a relay. There is a rhythm, mutuality and resonance of frequencies in successful relays that build strong, authentic relationships.
‘We need to recognise when someone offers to relay themselves – their feelings and energy – to us. We need to be able to respond in a timely and effective manner so they feel recognised and we both feel connected. That is the beginning of mutuality and authentic connection. Inattention to this basic skill is the reason for many misunderstandings, failed relationships and emotional feuds.
‘We all long for a sense of connection and belonging. In the spiritual world we call it the longing of the soul bride for the Infinite. That longing is a positive drive toward fulfillment and growth. It takes us beyond our limited self and inspires service, sacrifice and compassion. Sometimes it also serves to resolve lingering feelings of loss or abandonment from our childhood.
‘When we give and receive relays well, it feels natural and it serves both. We feel seen, embraced and heard.
‘A relationship is meant to complement and supplement each other. It’s a total service trip. I serve you, you serve me. You serve me, I serve you. It’s a complete relationship. The relativity of this relationship is the coordination of it.
‘The instinct to reach out to another person is well developed and exercised from our first moments of existence in the mother’s womb. As Yogi Bhajan pointed out in the lecture, we gradually surround our natural sensitivity with a shell of defensiveness. That shell is thickened by anger, fear and a need for control or recognition. It dulls our attention; by denial and distraction, we do not notice others reaching out to us and we become blind to the real nature of our relationship.
‘Noticing and responding to each other is so critical for a relationship that if you pass someone in the street or hallway three times and do not acknowledge them, you are dead in their mind. Even if you talk later, there is a subconscious hesitation that blocks an authentic connection. This is automatic. It is part of our defensive apparatus. The disconnection could have been prevented by a timely signal while passing the other person: a nod, a wink, a wave, a simple greeting, a smile, or any small clear signal that served to notice the person as they noticed you.’
Worth saying: ‘Hello’ to those you pass in the street, then, right? Yes, even in London!
Sat nam x