Years ago my mom pressed her ear against mine. “No” I told her, “I don’t hear it.” She has tinnitus that’s so loud she was sure other people could hear it.
When I meditate my body often tingles. Last weekend I asked my husband to press his body up to mine and hold me after my meditation. “No,” he told me, “I can’t feel it”.
What do my tingly body and my mom’s tinnitus have to do with anything?
Each one of us is experiencing something that only we can feel. Whether it’s dark thoughts or high hopes, debilitating anxiety or ripples of peace, the thrum of ecstasy or a sharp pain in your left kidney. Everyone has an inner world that’s layered and complex and wholly their own. Yet we often assume that what we feel and think and how we experience the world is the same as others do. We think we know them but we can’t, not fully, no matter how close we may be.
We can never truly know the agony of his childhood wound that hasn’t healed. Her family’s trauma that she carries in her bones. The secret desires he’s too afraid to share. The passion that makes her rev like a race car.
But we could live awe and wonder with ourselves and others because even with these internal worlds that could bring us to our knees in sorrow or in joy, we manage to get up, get dressed, get to work, feed the kids, and be mostly good to one another.
And when we don’t, wouldn’t it be nice to feel compassion for ourselves and others, and trust we’re all doing the best that we can.
Feel free to share this with someone who may not feel understood right now, because you want them to know that they’re still loved.