Here's another daily focus process from my booklet Urban Enlightenment. I confess the very simple programme outlined in the booklet was been written as much for me as anyone else. In an urban environment, it's so easy to forget the principles and attitudes that create connection with Spirit. Still, the fact is it's very easy to create a shift in consciousness with just a few simple processes. There's nothing earth-shattering here, just time-honoured spiritual processes that work. "The Connector" is one of my favourites. I have found it very powerful.
Have you ever noticed that in public spaces in many cities people rarely talk to strangers? In Hong Kong where I live, many people don’t even acknowledge the existence of service people in the supermarket or Seven-11, neither looking at them nor making eye contact as they complete their transaction. This has created an increasingly dehumanised urban environment. Yet the truth is that it is the person who is refusing to connect with others who is creating his own alienation. Is it any wonder that most people look utterly miserable in urban public spaces! People need connection. It’s our bonds with others that sustain our lives. But don’t despair. The Connector is here (and it is you!).
Here's how it works. Today (or tomorrow, if it is late in the day) you will deliberately connect with FIVE people (count ‘em!) in public space. These will be strangers or people you do not know well (although it works just as well, even better maybe, with friends and loved ones). Service people are great "targets" - door men, policewomen, cashiers, bus drivers and so on. You will also find that if you are present, and keep your head up and eyes relaxed and on the people around you (without focusing upon anyone for too long), that opportunities will open up to greet those around you on lifts, on public transport or on the street.
The key to The Connector is that this is no simple "Good morning". This moment of connection will be done in presence. That means that your mind will be fully present to the person you are meeting and greeting. Just for those few seconds, you will leave all thoughts or worries about other things, and give your entire attention to the person before you. Let's get specific.
Firstly, just before you enter the personal space of the person, bring your attention to your breath, and feel yourself fully within your body. As you approach, look them in the eye and SMILE! (try it, it’s easy!). Greet them with a friendly hello or “How are you?” If you have a spare half-minute, and if the person is not too busy, make a small comment like ,“You must have a very busy job” (don’t make it a negative, like “How can you stand dealing with the general public?”, or "This country is going down the crapper"). Make sure you stay present with the person while you are there, even if they are performing some mundane activity like giving you your change. When you leave, look them in the eye and say goodbye or, “Have a nice day.” Most people will respond positively. With service people, they usually welcome customers who actually take a few seconds to connect with them. However, if the person behind the counter remains poker faced, don’t take it personally. Just move on. You can’t please everyone!
So that’s The Connector. It’s simple, and it’s a lot less confronting than the Free Hugs campaign! All you have to do is repeat the process at least five times during your day. That is easy. There are no excuses! You can try it at work too, with colleagues you might not normally connect with. If you want to go further, extend the connection time with the person.
The Connector is simple and it really will make you feel better. It will make those whom you connect with feel good too! The other great benefit of The Connector is that it helps bring you into presence, and if done regularly, disciplines the mind to value "the now." And it is in the now that connection with Spirit is deepest.
Let me know how you go with it.