“A special monastery where they had two abbots seats, one occupied by the actual abbot, and the other always empty. New monks that came to the monastery grew curious as to why it was empty, and after some time, they would ask. In fact, the second teacher of the monastery was an important entity that had been there longer than any other monk. The third seat was reserved for the relationship between all of the monks and practitioners of the monastery.”
I openly invited some strangers to have coffee with me and our relationship, regardless of if we had one to date. Just like everyone has self interests, desires, and needs, there is a third entity that needs to be nurtured. That is, the relationship between us. When we recognize that we not only need to care for ourselves and those close to us, that we need to care for the relationships we build with other, we begin to treat ourselves and others with more respect. We begin to listen with the intent to understand rather than to reply. We begin to forge stronger relationships, ones where there are three parties, not two.