Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Martin Buber was a Jewish philosopher who emphasized the notion of encounter, a moment when two beings meet one another in their authentic existence. Authentic encounters allow us to experience the divine in others, thereby transforming the nature of the relationship. 

As one article stated, "Encounter is an event or situation in which relation occurs. We can only grow and develop ... once we have learned to live in relation to others, to recognize the possibilities of the space between us" (Smith, 2009). Buber also wrote, "All real life is encounter" (As cited in Smith, 2009). 

If authentic living requires us to encounter the other, then indigenous spirituality provides opportunities for encounter with our fellow human beings, along with all the beings of nature. 

Over the years, nature has often awakened me from the dull, object-based awareness of my day to day existence, and opened my connection to the mystery of being. That sense of connection often brings me to a state of mindfulness, gratitude, and beauty. Sometimes a fallen leaf or a ripple on the surface of the water is enough to facilitate an encounter with the divine. 

This afternoon, my moment of encounter happened as I drove from one job at Spokane Community College to my other job at Whitworth University. My mind was heavy with thoughts of student concerns and ungraded papers, but a burst of sunlight brought me back to my heart-awareness. Suddenly I experienced myself in relationship to the earth and sky.


Smith, M. K. (2009). Martin Buber on education. Retrieved from The Encyclopedia of Informal Education:

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