One of my favorite activities is watching people. One does not need to talk or do anything. If one is quiet, focused, and observant, everything necessary to begin the mission is in place. There are no tools outside of natural senses. In my experience, watching without prejudice is the best way to see everything there is to see. Having said that, I often find myself listening to a running commentary in my mind.
“Did you see that?”
“How could s/he think they were going to act that way without anyone noticing?”
“What was that?”
Even when I am excited, the commentary is a quiet whisper. My mind knows that I need to focus. It is trying to help, all the time knowing that it is distracting.
From what I have seen, across cultures, circumstances, and ages, there is a correlation between how people see others (observed character) and how their actions touch the people and world around them. Said another way, it is in our actions that others define who and what we are. Often our processed character and our perceived character are not connected.
A humble, conservative individual in most circumstances discovers a source of road rage each time they are in the car. An openly religious individual exploits the weakness of those that work with him. One in power takes the little power that another has away.
I am reminded how often I forget how interconnected life is. What happens somewhere may stay there, but I remember. I know. I can deny, yet I know. The linkage is there, if I am willing to see. The blunt assessment of yesterday still applies; “Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6.10)
Watching others is a great way to learn. If I want to grow I will see myself for who and what I am. It is an opportunity to connect the dots. If I do, I have something to work with God on.