I have been noticing with increased rapidity the tendency in our culture to interact with people as though they were “smart” devices.
While it is not exclusively true I find it rarer and rarer to leave a conversation and truly have felt heard. This is the case whether the interaction is via phone or face to face. On the phone I often hear the subtle click of computer keys, and a general vagueness coming from the other party. Reactions to what I have said are frequently delayed and just as frequently irrelevant to what I was actually communicating.
In person I watch the darting and averting eyes, and I most often feel as if I am being scrolled. If there is a device anywhere near it largely takes priority over the conversation I am attempting to have. The distancing is palpable and disconcerting. It is in a felt-sense way dis-heartening. I recently stopped what I was saying to someone mid-sentence, as I realized they were in no way present, and they didn’t even notice I had stopped speaking.
The fascination and identification with information is shutting us down. It puts a power off on heart to heart connection and intimacy. The next byte is far more important than what a feeble heart may be trying to say. With an ongoing barrage of data we never have to stop and feel our hearts, feel our connection, feel our natural compassion, and feel the often painful experience of being real.
It is a new and startling kind of lonely. You are right there. I see you. I hear you. And I in no way can feel you here with me.
I often want to stop and simply ask “is anyone home?” I think the lights are on. I know at some level you are in there. But are you really home? Can I really connect with you? Can I get close enough to feel you present, and feel myself being felt by you? Will you listen and hear me when there is no social media like button to handle your reacting?
I am committed to being a home space for you. I am committed to being truly present, and to listen and to hear. I am committed to releasing the habitual multi-tasking in any form. When I am speaking with you I will listen. I will remain in the interaction, and I will feel before I respond. I will hold your gaze and I will stay. You will be central to me and I will be home for you.
Is anyone home? I am.