Depth can be a loaded word for some of us. Like every word we use, meaning is attached to it and this consists of two parts. The first part of the meaning has to do with function. For the word depth, this refers to how deep something is or in this case, the degree to which an individual is psychologically aware and/or thoughtful. As you know already, we are talking about the latter in this post.
The second part that makes up the full meaning of a word is the value that we place upon the functional meaning of a word. What’s tricky about this is that the value changes and depends upon the social context in which it is used. This is because people value certain functions differently. This occurs within the individual and within a culture, which includes the culture of a family or any group of people. In this case, depth is a tricky thing because it can be seen as a threat, it can be valued and some might react to it with defensiveness. Unfortunately, depth can often be used in the context of how someone lacks it and those who have it are better than those who don’t have it. For this post, my hope is that you can let go of this value judgment and focus primarily upon the functional meaning.
Humans innately have a great deal of depth and what’s amazing about our species is that we have the ability to reflect upon the contents of this depth and to be with it without acting on anything. The course of our life, however, determines whether or not we learned to access this depth and to see this activity as something that is helpful in enhancing our lives. There is no question that it does. For those who are very goal oriented and often ask the question, “yeah, but what will I get?” the answer is simple. The more we can access, be with and explore our depth and the depth of others, the more meaning our lives will have, our relationships will deepen and our level of contentment increases.
Our innate human depth is a wondrous thing and as any person who has grown old, depth and meaning becomes increasingly important. All of us wish to be seen, truly seen, but we have to learn how to see ourselves first. Then we can honestly acknowledge who we are in the presence of others. When this happens, others can see us but they too have to learn how to see their own depth and allow us to touch it. This is real closeness. Sometimes we can think that relationships are not important but if we look around at all of our activities, our lifestyle and movement through life then we see that everything is based upon us working together, being together and supporting one another. As infants we need the love and support of parents and community. As we age we seek out friendships, often a partner and wish for a work environment that is enjoyable.
Each of us has depth and it is wondrous, terrifying, beautiful, calming and amazing to share. It is our human gift so let us learn how to touch into this and explore it in solitude and with others. No matter where we are in this it is always a helpful thing to continue to learn what it means to reside in this depth. Just start where you are and allow yourself to ease into it, forever.