A space of grace shows up when I work with people. I can’t account for it, neither through my professional training nor in terms of how good or not my life is relationally. Work can be where we give of our best, if we’re lucky. The spontaneous emergence of this space at the very center of my vocation, and the continuing deepening of it in ways I could not imagine nor orchestrate feels like the greatest blessing in my life.
I say “space” because that is the foundation of what I’m doing as a therapist or coach. That I see, feel, hear, and sense from foundationally open space is universal to all sentient beings; but not everybody finds themselves fascinated by it, nor wordlessly studies it, inhabiting it as the deepest truth and mystery over decades. None of us control our most compelling fascinations.
I’m not laying claim to anything when I say that: as far as I can see this basic space, as Buddhists term it will still intrinsically be here when my body has melted back in death into its origin. And yet, the unique perspective or particular point of view of this basic space, the one that you might point to and say “That’s you, you’re Glenn,” is what shows up when I sit with my clients.
The situation of being a coach and therapist has liberated me over years to being my best self in relationship with someone else who comes to me because they are in difficulty, or suffering, who feels confused, or anxious, who wants to know how better to be in relationship with food, or with love and death, or with their own hidden strengths. And while my training shows up interwoven with how I be as my best self, what I experience more and more is simply the capacity to be myself.
And this being my best self is seamlessly mixed in with the free nature of the open space. There’s a quality of being with my experience and the experience of my client that is both deeply intimate with both and completely free to be a lovingly impartial observer of it.
That word intimacy sometimes strikes a problematic chord in therapy, yet it is intrinsic to healing. “Into me I see” someone once suggested to me is the real meaning of the word, and I would say yes, but remember also not only seeing, but also sensing, feeling, swimming closer to being.
Resonant With Grace
And in evoking these richer qualities of experiencing oneself and another a lovingly impartial observer begins the recognition that we see most clearly when the eyes in the center of our chests begin to resonantly open.
I hunt deliberately for this resonance in a session, a truffle dog sniffing for the heart of the matter. And the central vitality inherent in this flow of mutuality when shared heart space begins to open is so different in import and consequence from the story that plays out in our heads that I’m tempted to say we move from face-to-face, interface – to interfaith. The faith experience has little to do with belief and everything to do with stepping into life’s intrinsic trustworthiness, into risk and back into the only place where undivided healing really happens and wholeness lives uninterrupted. Now.