Talking in Elevators

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by Suzanne Giesemann

This experience of being a human being sure is interesting. We spend our whole lives looking for love, and will often do some pretty crazy things to get it. And then, in spite of our innate need to connect with each other, we end up doing just the opposite. We stake off our boundaries and erect invisible shields around us that keep others at a distance. Somehow, we have learned — either after being taught by our mentors or by observing those around us — not to interact with our fellow human beings whom we meet in passing.

A case in point is elevator etiquette. There seem to be unwritten rules of behavior that you won’t ever find on the little plaque next to the emergency call button. If someone did go to the trouble of putting these rules on paper, they’d say something like, “When sharing this box with a stranger, do not speak. If contact is made, avert the eyes at once.”

My husband and I recently went for a hike on a beautiful mountain trail in the Rockies. Surrounded by towering cliffs molded into magnificent shapes by Nature’s hand, our bodies hummed with the high vibrations around us. It’s easy to feel connected with All That Is in such awe-inspiring surroundings. Nevertheless, each time we encountered fellow hikers on the path, had we not initiated a greeting, those we passed would have remained silent. I know this because we experimented.

Each cheery “Good morning!” from us was met with a blink of surprise. The response varied from a forced “Good morning” in return to a more welcoming “Where are you from and what brings you here?” conversation that lengthened our time on the trail just a bit. When we deliberately said nothing to see how others would react, the other hikers averted their eyes and marched on past.

Where does such behavior come from? It’s mainly a cultural norm, and it varies from region to region and country to country. I have observed that the smaller the community and the more the members of that community depend upon each other, the greater the personal interaction among strangers. I served for two years at a U.S. Navy base in Sasebo, Japan. Being so far from home and part of a relatively small group, we Americans would verbally greet our fellow countrymen in passing both on base and off.

I grew so accustomed to this habit that the difference stunned and dismayed me when I reported for my next tour of duty in Washington, D.C. Gone was all sense of connection and community. Stepping onto the streets of our nation’s capital was like stepping into a giant elevator. People’s auras practically shouted, “Don’t say a word!” as they scurried past with eyes averted.

This type of behavior is not natural. We come into this world pure, innocent and oozing love. That’s why most people gravitate to babies. They truly are little angels. Babies are safe. The spirit inside the wrinkly, new people-suit is not yet covered by human dust and dirt. A baby’s light shines so brightly that even tough guys will bend over one to “ooh”, “aah” and soak up some of that loving essence.

And then, over time, the little ones learn how to be like the rest of us. They watch grownups, and they learn how to stand on two feet. In doing so, they discover independence and kick up a little dust. Next they learn how to say “No!” and a little more dust gathers on their light. As they spend more and more time around seasoned human beings, they learn that some can be trusted and others can’t. Little by little they become more ego-oriented than spirit-based.

This transition must be kind of tough for the spirit. One parent overheard her five-year-old son whispering through the slats of his baby sister’s crib, “Tell me what it was like where you came from. I’m beginning to forget.”

That’s the problem with us humans as a whole. Most of us have completely forgotten that we are not these bodies we wear. What we are is the physical expression of the loving Force that created these bodies. The more time we spend walking about in ignorance of this Truth, the easier it is to take on the lower vibrational attributes of the ego, many of which are completely contrary to our spirit-nature.

When we exhibit loving-kindness and compassion, we act in alignment with who we really are. At the level of the spirit, we feel our connection with each other. When we make the conscious choice to reach out and extend a greeting to a stranger, we rekindle that connection.

A few years ago, my husband and I sailed our boat to Newfoundland. The folks there are a hearty bunch, living as they do in remote communities under often challenging conditions. The weather is brutal in winter, and very changeable, even in summer. Storms come through every three to four days. It is often foggy, and rain is common.

Newfies seem oblivious to their weather. They are a quiet, stoic, yet friendly bunch. Invariably, they would call out, “Beautiful day!” as we passed on the street, in spite of the dreary drizzle falling around us. They instinctively trust strangers because the conditions under which they live often require it.

I’ve been trying to come up with a phrase with which to greet my fellow human beings when I meet them in an elevator. I want something cheerful that will spark that spirit connection without making me sound like a nut-case. “Beautiful day!” might just do the trick. Even if it’s storming outside, I think folks will catch my meaning from the greeting’s energy. Something inside them is bound to awaken and remember that every day that God breathes through us is cause to be grateful.

We are here in these bodies for one simple reason: to develop our Divinity. We are the physical manifestation of the Love that created us. When we practice love-centered living, we see every encounter — whether it be on a beautiful mountain trail, a busy city street, or in a crowded elevator — as a chance to fulfill our purpose of being the physical presence of Love. In making a conscious connection with our fellow human beings, we help them to reconnect with their soul.

Suzanne Giesemann is the author of nine books, including Messages of Hope: The Metaphysical Memoir of a Most Unexpected Medium. She is an international inspirational speaker who focuses on sharing the concepts of Love-Centered Living.