Just read David’s post over at Raptitude, and sharing the comment I made there, here. Start with his thoughts (then mine will make more sense):
Very insightful post!! More than just private though, I would say that we are 89% unknown to ourselves beneath the tip of that iceberg … and that, as social beings, we are far more context-dependent than we recognize or credential.
89%: (Playing with these numbers as toys to explore something we really can’t quantify :) The 1% we know as ourselves is really only comprised of ‘the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.’ We collect these stories from a very small sample of our experiences, most often giving greater weight to the ones that are traumatic. Thus, ‘who-we-know-ourselves-to-be’ is a very skewed picture that gives rise to feelings of shame (because we must have gotten something wrong to have gotten traumatized in the first place) and vulnerability (not knowing what we got wrong, we’re at constant risk of getting traumatized again). What we need to be able to see, together, with and for each other, is exactly what David is pointing out here: This is our shared story, and we can help one another. When we begin to lower our masks with each other, revealing our shared vulnerability, the whole world changes. Literally. In an instant. Because the 89% of oursElves that we’re not aware of is comprised of vast potentials for intelligence and rescue and unity that we can’t activate by ourselves. Since this is a (direly necessary!) growth edge for us humans, there aren’t a lot of us yet who feel ready … because being vulnerable does run the risk of re-traumatization, and it takes no small amount of strength and trust to step out. But we can do this. We can re-cognize our shared story; we can come to see that we’re all vulnerable and traumatized and we need one another to heal ourselves and our world.
Because, context-dependent: We do not exist in isolation, as much as it can feel like we do at times. Who we experience ourselves to be in any moment depends on countless, perhaps infinite influences and connectivities of that unique moment, only the tiniest sliver of which we have any awareness of at all. In a very real and practical sense, we arise in response to the moment. So, in the current environment, where we’re all playing off each other’s masks, we exist in a fictional universe … everyone pretending to something they’re not … and we’re stuck ‘responding’ from mask to mask. We’re not condemned to this, though, it’s just what we’re ‘agreeing to do right now.’ In actuality, our potentials for true response-ability exceed our wildest fictions and myths and religious stories and sciences. When we drop our masks at last (and it’ll get contagious once we get started!), we can begin supporting one another in truly responding to the real universe with and for each other, and for this incredible living mystery we call Earth.
O, and I’m not at all suggesting everybody suddenly gets vulnerable with everybody … but that we deepen our closest relationships and begin building small groups of deeper relation, where we can discover and explore who we truly are.