If, as a client, you’ve been working with a therapist 1-on-1 or in a group for a long time, you take with a smile someone’s response, “I just…” to your question, “Why did you do X?”. Analysis of my own and others’ examples has taught me that nothing is “just.” Reservations, jokes, dreams, typos, mishearings, forgetting — every action has a specific motivation, even if the person doesn’t see it himself. “Just, merely, simply,” are convenient excuses. But you find it impolite to “drill a well” on the spot to get the truth out. Especially since your attempts to clarify are usually met with bewilderment, irritation, and then aggression.
It is important not to devalue your suspicion and to trust the feeling of what is implicit. Actions always outweigh words. Although we really want to believe the latter. Actually, the difficulty lies precisely in our unwillingness to accept some discomforting but not yet explicit fact. The co-founder convinces you that you are equal partners, but every time he “simply” forgets to agree with you on an important issue. The owner announces the appointment of one of the top managers as CEO, but six months later he makes all the key decisions de facto himself, poisoning the new “leader” and all the employees with the ambiguity of the situation. An investment manager goes to a meeting with a billionaire, a controversial man, but who may invest a lot of capital in the fund, and even chooses a motorcycle to avoid traffic, but is still a few minutes late. Why? Napoleon Bonaparte was right: “There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.”
I think it’s all about the gap between what really is and what we desperately (don’t) want. The greater the gap, the more often there are “strange” dreams, mistakes, and reservations. Suchness (tathatā) pulls us along like an ocean current pulls a drifting raft. There is no point in listening to a traveler’s speech, disrupted by thirst and isolation. Better to carefully observe the ocean, both in people and within ourselves.
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