I have a client who loves history. Before working with this client I’d never thought much about history. I like watching historical movies, but I disliked history as a subject in school and I always did poorly in it because it required memorizing information (names, dates, places) that felt dry and dead to me. But when my client talks about history, it’s anything but dry and dead. For him, history is alive—it’s something he engages with, something that challenges him, something that has continuing wisdom to share. Listening to him talk about it, I wanted to see what he saw. I wanted to experience that. And now history has started to come alive for me as well. Being able to see what he saw was a gift that he gave to me. I believe we each open these spaces for one another.
I’m reminded of a story by Robert Romanyshyn in The Metaphors of Consciousness about two men—a geologist and a botanist—who are walking together through a forest. They are both walking through the same forest, but the botanist notices the flowers and trips over the rocks…while the geologist notices the rocks and steps on the flowers. Each of them has a clear experience of being in the forest and are certain about what they have seen. There is only one forest, but the two men see very different things and have different experiences of it.
Romanyshyn’s story brings us back to the heart, because it is our loves and passions that drive our curiosities and subsequently, what we notice. The geologist loves rocks and doesn’t see the flowers. The botanist loves flowers and doesn’t see the rocks. It’s the heart that moved the botanist to be passionately curious about flowers and the geologist to be enamored with rocks. Rudolph Steiner said, “Unless I love something it cannot reveal itself to me.” Romanyshyn’s story beautifully illustrates how life is a creative process and we each participate in it in a unique way. Our hearts govern where our gifts lie and how we can contribute to others, because our hearts shows us what we see.