A little girl innocently walks up to a man sitting quietly on a bench in the park as she has chased a butterfly that landed next to him and she asks him if he noticed it too. But chasing behind her is her mother who, after a sheepish smile to the man takes the little girl’s hand and walks away with her, whispering that it was not safe to do what she did because that man is a stranger and “We don’t know him, so he could be dangerous,” asking her to never do that again.
I’m sure all of us can relate in some way to the above example, either from within our own family experiences or observed elsewhere. Understanding how the current state of humanity, with all its violence and stories of abuse on all levels could lead to this approach of avoiding interaction with strangers for our children and ourselves as adults, I feel that it has actually led to more separation in society and that we have traded connection for ‘security.’ But at what cost, and are we really any safer, or have we isolated ourselves from making connections with other people based on some belief and out of fear that everyone we previously did not know is a potential threat to our safety? That sure doesn’t feel like someone who is ‘secure’ to me, but actually very insecure and indeed even living in a state of anxiousness.
Moving back to the original example of the child approaching the ‘stranger’ in the first paragraph. It is this gorgeous openness and willingness to connect with others in a tender way that is so innate in children that we are threatening when we impose an image of anyone outside our family as a possible danger to us. Imagine the difference it would have made for that man sitting on the bench if he would have been able to share that magic moment with the little girl of a butterfly landing right next to him, feeling safe enough himself to do so, a reflection of his own knowingness that the ‘stranger’ was not a threat, instead of what transpired above, leaving the gentleman wondering, “Do I really look that scary?” or “I wonder what’s wrong with me that the mother felt to rush her daughter away from me like that?”
There have been countless times where I have struck up a conversation with one of these ‘strangers’ at the local tea shop, in the grocery store, or even in the lobby at the garage waiting for my car to be fixed and have experienced some really touching and expansive conversations that left me feeling so much more connected to people and trusting that at our core we all have so much love to be shared with each other when we let down our guards and allow ourselves to feel it.
These interactions have reminded me time and again, no matter what area of the U.S. or other country I have been in, that we are truly all the same divine beings and even though there are people out there that could be dangerous because they have deviated from their true nature, to assume that everyone we don’t know falls into that category is holding us back from evolving as a humanity by cutting the connections and growth there on offer.
By Michael Goodhart, Aircraft Technician, B.A. Psychology, Lover of Nature and being playful with life, North Carolina, USA