Looking at You to See Myself

Gary Zukav’s discussion of collectives in Mind of the Soul is fascinating to me. The idea of collectives makes so much sense.  As humans we group ourselves by the characteristics that are important to us.  We may cling to our own race, our own intellectual, educational, economic or social level.  It may be our neighborhood, our church, our activities, or even our blood.

And I get the danger of collectives, the fear factor, the divisiveness and the alienation from those who are different from us. It’s food for endless thought and self-correction.

My fascination, however, is caught up in this concept of self-definition through identification of our collectives.  That by looking closely at those who surround us (by choice), we catch a glimpse of ourselves.  It’s pretty much the same concept as taking a hard look at our checkbook register.  It tells us what we value.  What resonates with us or what reverberates, causing discomfort and unease.

For several years I have considered myself fortunate in the amount and quality of my friends. * I feel the warm comfort of spending time with individuals and groups of people who I “like”.

I’ve even identified that sometimes my discomfort with peoples’ actions somehow reflects my irritation with myself.  I may be appalled, sickened, dismayed or mesmerized and awestricken by others’ behavior; but if I’m irritated, I can be sure that I act the same way sometimes.  The foibles that bother me the most in my friends can be held as a mirror to my own behavior.

However, until now I haven’t taken it a step further and held the magnifying glass to my cohort in order to see myself.  Can I be objective and identify what defines my comfort zone?  I think so.

I recognize the times when I am swept away by desire to “be” someone I’m not, whether positive or negative; when I am drawn toward someone whose glamour and position is more of a magnet than who they are as a person.  I see the  flaws that draw me to those who share my traits of distancing, procrastination, co-dependency, etc., etc.

And overall I’m feeling pretty good about myself.  My friends are varied in occupation, income, assets, family background and size, and interests.  What they have in common is: authenticity; tolerance; compassion; sense of responsibility (sometimes overly honed); sense of humor; desire to learn; and capacity to love.  They are opinionated and strong.  They have ideas.  They have dreams.  They have purpose.

I must be cool to have such friends.


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