Ideas We Love: Attuning to Respect, Honor & High Regard

By Melissa Whittemore

One of the core pillars of the Round Table practice is holding each other in high regard, respect and honor.  One of my daily practices in life is to uphold these values as much as I can.  What does it mean bring these qualities out into the world?  What does it mean to meet each person with these intentions? What does it mean to be respectful of each other by being fully present, without judgement and without creating separation from others?

There are deliberate ways that I practice holding everyone in high regard when I am in contact with another person. I seek to relate to them as human beings and not objects of my judgments or preconceptions.  If I am triggered emotionally by something I see or hear, I take a breath and wonder if they are having a rough day.  It helps me get some perspective and see myself in them.  I step back in myself, take a moment, and think about what their life might be like and what they may have been through. Did they just lose a loved one?  Did they just get laid off from their job?  Are they not happy in general?  Listening without my own agenda and listening with my heart creates an openness and receptivity in me that breeds compassion.

Paris Street Scene - zoetnet

In these moments when I am challenging myself to see beyond my preconceptions, my senses seem to come alive. I smell the bread baking in the coffee shop, I hear the music louder and I can feel others’ emotions.  I feel more alive and attuned.  Through this aliveness, I am more able to hold others in high regard and honor them on their journey of life.  I am completely amazed that we are all on a journey and each of us has a unique story.  Being curious about others’ stories has the propensity to breed a connection to each person I come into contact with.

I think these beautiful intentions can help us feel and be more interconnected in our consciousness and actions.  It helps us to contemplate more.  I was sitting at a traffic light recently and I was watching the cars move through the intersection and people walk across the crosswalks. I began thinking to myself that I am just one person, in one car, on one street, waiting for one traffic light.  I started to think about how many people, how many cars are waiting at a stoplight in the world.  Then I saw  a delivery truck parked on a side street delivering supplies to a local diner, and I thought how incredible that it is just one delivery truck, on one street, delivering to one diner.  My mind expanded to include the journey the food took to get to this one diner.  I thought about the earth, about where the food grew, about the elements that contributed to its growth and who tended to the plants.  I thought about the process it takes from sowing the seed to packaging the material, to being placed on the truck, driven to a city or a small town.  Who is the driver of the truck, and what are his thoughts and dreams?  As my mind unravels all of these questions, a feeling of the sublime takes over me. This is another portal through which I can live the qualities of high regard, respect, and honor for all others.

Delivery truck -

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While they were saying it couldn't be done, it was done.
— Helen Keller