Friday, March 24, 2017

Engagement Is A Two-Way Effort

Not much new to say here except that if you want interaction with someone or some activity, it will require engagement.  By definition, engagement means interaction and involvement, which, of course, means taking part.  When you take part in something, you are engaged, involved.

There is a school of thought that suggests a person only has to do his/her personal inner work in order for relationships—with people or activities—to work out for the best.  In other words, it doesn’t make any difference what others do in that relationship or activity.  I am here to dispute this.  It DOES make a difference if others in a relationship or activity also DO something that shows their involvement.  All parties need to be engaged if a relationship or activity is to be resolved to the benefit of each of those parties.

You can do your work on your own.  You can gain a measure of satisfaction as you do your own work.  You can feel resolved.  However, a relationship involves more than one party, so it requires all parties to be actively engaged in securing the best possible outcome for each person.  The same is true for any activity involving more than one person.

You cannot make someone else engage.  When the other party or parties do not choose to engage, one of two things happens.  Either, it becomes clear that the relationship no longer exists in actual terms, so you turn your attention to releasing the other party.  Or, you hold fast to your work lovingly embracing the other party until such time as a light begins to dawn in his/her own mind and heart. That can lead to reaching back regardless of whatever risk one may feel.

In his book, “Anger,” Thich Nhat Hanh uses an example of a parent/child relationship to illustrate engagement.
My dear child, I know you suffer a lot.  For many years, you have suffered a lot.  When you suffer, I suffer, too.  How can I be happy when my child suffers? So I recognize that both you and I suffer.  Can we do something about it?  Can we come together and search for a solution?  Can we talk?  I really want to restore communication, but alone, I cannot do much.  I need your help. 
It is often a risk to reach out to another person with whom there has been a long-standing separation due to disagreements or other issues.  For satisfactory resolution for each party, sooner or later that risk may need to be taken.

The bottom line:  ENGAGEMENT IS A TWO-WAY EFFORT ultimately.  Until a way for engagement occurs, hold fast to your love and your dream of healing and happiness.  You will always benefit from your effort.

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