How to Find Your Shared Reality and Create Peaceful Relationships

How to Find Your Shared Reality and Create Peaceful Relationships

PHIL: We were talking about why we have a peaceful relationship and came up with the idea of a shared reality.

This seems to fit what happens when we talk about us, about how we are. One of us will describe the relationship, or what is like being with the other person, or the balance of togetherness and independence, or any number of other things, and the other person will say, “Uh huh” and completely recognize and agree with the description, even if they wouldn’t use the same words. It’s rather like our blogs where we write separately and in different words about the same subject.

This happens all the time, every time, to the extent that it defies probability. It is like cutting a deck of cards and drawing an ace each time. This is why the idea of a shared reality is so fitting; we are each talking about the same thing, so there is no possibility that our descriptions could be at odds.

But how can this be? If you think of us as two lumps of modeling clay pushed together (or Plasticine if you’re from England), each lump experiences the other as a shape – not the same shape, but complementary. Each description of the shape has its counterpart.

But it is the idea of emergent properties that fits my experience better. A combination has properties that do not exist in the individual components. The hexagonal shape of a snowflake is not found in its water molecules. So there is an “us” that exists by virtue of our relationship. This is what makes up our shared reality.

The connection between two objects is not something contained in one or the other of them; it is something more besides. Carlo Rovelli

This is a hard idea to recognize because of the way that language divides the world into this and not-this, into me and not-me. Yet this sense that there is simultaneously a me and an us is as solidly grounded as my sense of self.

The fact that Maude can describe it in terms that I recognize every time confirms that there is a fundamental commonality. Yet what is that? People share and feel connected through what they have in common. British people talk about the weather. People bemoan politics. Deadheads talk about concerts. They hold shared understandings and viewpoints, but these are all external, temporal things. Although we also have many matching habits and preferences, our connection seems to be at a more fundamental experiential level. It might be an ethos, or a shared sense of how people relate and rely on and support each other. I’m not sure even these words capture its spirit.You can find your shared reality and create peaceful relationships #quote #peace #relationships Share on X

MAUDE: We often discuss foundational experiences between us in our quest to share the path and process to peaceful relationships. Last night we were looking at an area we have often pondered together. We have such a deep knowing that when we share, we are talking about the same thing. It’s not about agreeing on individual life activities. We are in agreement on things, but the agreements are not about where we should live, or how we spend our money, or what we eat, although we agree on much of that as well. It’s something far more basic.

Phil often asks, when we feel this sense, “What is this that we are feeling and experiencing and how can it be so firmly the same that we both know it unquestionably?”

My answer is that it is a reality that we are encountering (not creating) together; a reality that is there and that consistently has a quality of recognizable exact resonance between us. It exists apart from us and yet we each experience it, recognize it, and know that the other sees it. A true shared reality, in the sense that we know where we meet as persons and that this quality is a repeatable constant.

Over time, we have developed a language and way of talking and listening to each other where we hear the kernel of truth the other is sharing and recognize it completely. Encountering this together requires the kind of openness we wrote about last week. This is something that we sense and feel about being together, ‘getting’ each other, hearing each other, and knowing directly what the other means, not with our minds but with our person.

This led me to thinking that something similar can be found in all intimate close relationships. I think this is a way of being together that can be cultivated; a way of finding a language where you can actually talk to each other about what you’re feeling and seeing and experiencing. I have this with many of my deepest friendships, and it is something we have developed over time. It is a process that creates a feeling of being open and real with each other.

There’s a path to peaceful relating when you look for that shared reality, that place that resonates, that touches what is real for you, where you feel known and recognized for who you truly are and can share this with someone. If you move towards that place together, and make that goal part of developing your connection within a relationship, you will develop a sense of authenticity. It will create connections between you where you each know and are known. A use of words develops that helps get to that place of peace and comfort between two people where you can rest in your true self and share that with another who is doing the same; sharing back and forth from this place of caring and connection.

Sharing this kind of relationship with another person is precious and makes the world a better place!

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: A favorite sculpture of ours

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5 Comments on “How to Find Your Shared Reality and Create Peaceful Relationships

  1. Lovely. My husband Charlie always said there are three entities in a marriage: you, me and us. Each needs attention, care and communication. We used to take one hour walks. We’d each talk about whatever we wanted for 20 minutes without interruption. The last 20 minutes we talked together. We worked thru a lot of stuff in those walks. And always stopped to notice the trees and flowers along the way.
    Be well.

    • Charlie sounds very wise. I would submit, that these same things hold true in every relationship and are an important key to having peaceful relationships. We have to find that place of “we”.

  2. You two are certainly an example of the Whole being more than the sum of its parts! Good Rovelli quote…..and perfect photo!

  3. I love this idea of a Shared Reality, in which both people in a relationship can feel known and know the other. I believe this involves the honest intimacy we all crave at some level. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thank you, Esther. We really appreciate your input. The experience of knowing and being known is like no other. It brings an immediate sense of peace and calm to both people.
      with love

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