I never cease to be amazed at how intrusive and clueless people can be (starting with myself). In an Orthodox shul, there are sections for men and women and yet many people ignore this, particularly the insane. If you don’t join with people and tune in to them before you talk to them, you’ll often say things that are intrusive or inappropriate. You might presume an intimacy that is not there. The other night, I saw this 70 year old guy turn to a girl he did not know and the first thing he said was, “What gives you greatest pleasure?” The girl got embarrassed and said, “That’s a very personal question.” The guy meant well. He wasn’t trying to bring up something sexual. He was listening to her talk to somebody else about her life plans and college plans, but he didn’t tune in to her before opening his mouth to help. If truly you want to help people, and not just intrude on people, you first need to join with them and tune into them before you “help.” If this guy had been in a state where he was preparing to catch a ball thrown to him, he would have been less likely to make this type of blunder. He would have gotten out of his head and out of intellectualizing about reality and he would have started living in a way that would bless him and those around him.
You have to have a deep level of rapport with somebody before you can ask him an intense question like, “What gives you the greatest pleasure?” That’s not the first thing you can say to somebody. You have to earn the right to ask such questions.
I notice many people prefer to say and do whatever it is they want to say and do without taking the effort to become alive and alert in the present moment and to take into account the varying states of those around them.
A great way to reach a place where you can tune in to those around you is to be as alert as you need to be to catch a tennis ball. When you play catch, you get out of your mental and emotional and physical ruts and become alive in your kinesthesia. You become receptive to the world around you. You pay attention to different possibilities. As you become alert, you tend to drop your habitual slumping habits and move up in your body and as you do this, your mind becomes calm and alert and you sense your own possibilities for movement and you better take into account the possibilities of those around you and you start living in the moment rather than getting stuck in the past or dreaming about the future. A good Alexander Technique teacher can show you how to live in an alert way rather than in a habitual way so that you are alive to possibility in yourself and in others.