Monday, March 5, 2012

On Sharing What is Most Meaningful

In my previous blog, Overcoming My Addiction to "Falling In Love" I touched briefly on the idea that part of my attraction to young "Joe" was the way he responded to the books I shared with him. He found them "meaningful" in much the same way that I had found them "meaningful." In the case of those particular books, that had been a rare experience for me; i.e. for someone else to find them as meaningful as I did.

And even though the relationship did not become more serious, for all kinds of other reasons, I learned something important about relating in general as a consequence of having this opportunity to "share something meaningful." In fact, I have come to the conclusion now that part of the "glue" that holds relationships together is this mutuality of "shared meaning."

However, in order to recognize how the sharing of meaning might play out in your own relationships, you first have to recognize what it is that is actually meaningful in your own life, and more importantly, to figure out what is Most Meaningful. In other words, you have to do what I like to call your "home work" - taking the time to get to know yourself better, before trying to integrate that "self" into a relationship with another person. If you don't know what is Most Meaningful to you, then a) How will you be able to talk about that with another person, and b) How will you be able to assess if there is any alignment between what you find meaningful and what the other person finds meaningful? Granted, there may not be mutual sharing of All that is meaningful between two people, but I dare say the degree to which people do share what is most meaningful, will have an impact on how long-term the relationship proves to be.

Does what is meaningful to you change over time? I suspect it does, and, in fact, as each of us grows what is Most Meaningful at any given time may vary quite a lot. This may also end up being why relationships end; i.e. one person grows towards something different that becomes particularly meaningful to them, while the other person in the relationship either grows in a direction of their own, or, for whatever reasons, has stopped growing at all. When relationships stagnate, or lose their passion, again, the loss of the Meaningfulness of the relationship, or even of each person's own life, may be the underlying cause.

At this point, I don't think many people are very conscious of what is Most Meaningful to them. In those relationships where shared meaning exists and persists, it probably does more by chance than by conscious recognition. That's why the "revelation" I experienced in my relating with Joe was so profound. It was not something I had ever recalled being directly addressed anywhere else.

I have since, however, become more and more sensitive to the experience of Shared Meaning and how wonderful it can truly be when it Is Shared. The Sharing of Meaning becomes Meaningful in Itself, and it seems being conscious of it only adds more to the experience. I am a bit sorry for having come to this conscious recognition somewhat later in life, but I am Grateful for it now and for the opportunities I have now, and ahead of me, to continue to consciously Share What Is Meaningful and to share what is Most Meaningful with others.