Monday, May 29, 2017
The magic of attunement
On a flight from Denver to Oahu, I sat next to a lovely couple who must have been in their early to mid-70s. I was struck by how attuned they were to one another - the slightest cue from one was received by the other and responded to. I could literally feel in my body each time they experienced this linkage, right-brain to right-brain holding in all its purity. At other times, they would return into their own individuality, weaving together and dancing in the middle, totally connected and totally separate simultaneously. It was like magic.
As soon as I thought they had lost contact, they would meet one other's glance spontaneously, as if to behold together the unspoken holiness of the relational field itself. No words needed. It was as if I could feel their mirror neurons coming online together, empathically in resonance, attuned to one another's arising emotional subjectivity. They were alive to what was needed in a given moment, but not more. Intimacy without fusion. Communion without impingement. All in a perfect flow of mutual co-regulation.
For some reason their dance, their play, their love... it really touched me, so much that I found myself weeping a bit. I didn't want to cause a scene or make them uncomfortable so kept to myself as much as I could. I know, those that know me, it's not like me to "not make a scene" or refrain from "making others uncomfortable." I really was trying to behave, though; it was only 45 minutes into a long flight after all.
After a bit more time passed, they pulled out their video player and were going to watch a movie together. I was curious how they would be able to remain connected and do this as there was only one headphone jack on their iPad. Would they alternate? Knowing them (as I had for about an hour now), I was sure one would just sacrifice the sound for the other, and they'd switch periodically, trusting they would be able to dialogue about the film after it was over, catching each other up to what parts each of them missed.
Before I realized exactly what was going on, the gentleman pulled out a Y-shaped thingy which allowed them to both plug their headphones in at once. I lost it. It was so perfect, and so them. Just more attunement and connection, this time taking shape as some weird looking modern electronic device. The tears flowed even more in reveling at their sweet connection.
They finally glanced over at me, my intention to not create a scene lost to the crushing power of love that flows between two people. They both smiled and the man patted me on the shoulder, his eyes near bursting into tears himself. We stepped into some sort of crucible outside time and space where the veil parted and only love remained.
I was so grateful that they allowed me into their sacred world for a moment, and into the mystery of lover and beloved as it unfolds here, into eternity.
Postscript: just before landing, I shared this post with them. The three of us just sort of silently wept together, holding hands... as we descended into Waikiki... three new friends, held by the beloved and her mysterious ways, and the sweetness of a Hawaiian sunset. There is truly never any such thing as an "incomplete" moment.
The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now (we're about 80% sold out as of 27 May)
New book – The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – to be released in June