Love your neighbor as yourself.
– Mark 12:31
Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
– Matthew 7:12
After the fundamental practices of self-observation, non-identification and Self-remembering, external considering is probably the most important practice for work on the side of being. It is one of the main ways to work with and neutralize negative emotions and create understanding. It also belongs to both first-and second-line of the Work – work on oneself and work in relationship with others.
There are several practical ways to externally consider:
- Put yourself in the position of your neighbor. Visualize yourself as the other person, feeling into their circumstances, their difficulties, their perspectives. To do this involves both seeing oneself (self-observation) and seeing the other at the same time.
- Look at yourself from another person’s perspective – see yourself through their perspectives and attitudes.
- Find what we dislike or judge in another in ourselves.
External considering is always a conscious act because it depends on aim, effort, visualization and sincerity.
Note that worrying about others is not external considering because it is mixed up with oneself and negative emotions.
The Work aphorism, “If you truly understood, you would not disagree” is an understanding brought about by the practice of external considering.
“You have to direct your attention to the other person; you cannot externally consider unless you are using a very fine energy of attention. … The small I’s which hate, like, and so on, are always serving the self; but if you direct your attention to the other person, it may be that gradually you will have an intuition of what the real needs of the person are. The needs of the external man differ. Some people need health, some need money, and some need physical rest, but the needs of the inner man are nearly the same for everybody. What sort of thing does the inner man want? … You are not likely to be able to externally consider in the person’s presence unless you have thought about him for a long time when he is not there. … It is a question of seeing a person objectively without bringing yourself into it.”
– Beryl Pogson, The Work Life