One specific chapter in Eckhart Tolle’s book, “A New Earth,” really got to me on a deeper level.
Yesterday, I actually saw it happen in real life and caught myself in the act. The chapter talks about how within a few seconds of meeting someone, you subconsciously give them a title based on what they’re doing.
The next few interactions with that person highly dictates how you will treat them for however long you are with them. Let me present you with an example: You are at a restaurant and you sit down to eat. A server comes by and asks you if you need some water and whether you would like to order something to eat. Within a few seconds, you have already decided that the individual is there to serve you and you have the right to demand. You automatically put yourself in a place of power and are unable to see that persons worth, their heart, their intelligence, their character and so on.
We exist in our lives whilst subconsciously having conversations with people by categorizing them in whatever roles they show up in within our daily lives. What’s more, we blindly live this way until we die. It dawned on me how profound this was.
So yesterday, I got in an Uber and said hello to the dad-like man who picked me up. Then, I turned to my phone to do my thing. A minute into my ride, he tells me his phone died and apologized for not knowing if he was going the right way. Without hesitation in my mind, I annoyingly thought to myself, “Why wouldn’t he know that his phone is dying if he’s an Uber driver?!” I gave him a short answer to go around the other side.
For some reason, I had a few seconds where I became present in that moment. I realized I had automatically assumed the driver-customer relationship and put myself in the position of power. I then decided to put my phone away and remove my judgment. Instead, I guided him to my destination. He was kind. We talked about the weather and made casual conversation. I wondered about his family, if he had kids, where he was from, and how hard he must work.
I got lost in my thoughts and realized how much empathy I felt for him. That was a huge lesson in self awareness in the smallest of moments. Within a short Uber ride, I decided that living more consciously in each interaction I have with the many strangers I will meet in my life is the only way to go.
For more from Huda, follow her on Instagram!