i sat quietly across from the old guy on the bench in the bus station. he was by appearance a derelict of some sort and this was his home for the night. people were coming and going and sitting for a while and leaving to catch a bus. the normal flow of people in a bus station.
as the minutes went by i found myself trying to sit like the man sitting across from me. i tried to breathe like him too, noticing the rate at which he breathed and how deeply and smoothly the air went in and out of his lungs. he laboured in his breathing so it was a challenge to copy the way he was doing it but i continued. as he adjusted himself i did so also. this went on for about half an hour or so before i noticed him noticing me for the first time. i was seated maybe fifteen feet from him at an angle to my right. close enough to see his one eye open briefly to loook at me before closing again.
after forty-five minutes his breathing became shallower and he sat up, opened his eyes wide and looked right at me and said, "don`t you have anything better to do than hang around in a bus station all night?".
i smiled and said "no" and got up and went home.
the man in the dirty, rumpled clothes had become aware of my subtle mirroring of his behaviour to the point where it had annoyed him significantly enough for him to speak out loud. i was subtle enough in my adjustment and breathing to not give him visual clues. he had begun to just get a funny "feeling" about what was going on between us. it made him uncomfortable enought to say something. however he recognised my intentions it was substantial enough for me to get a result in my experiment.
it says something profound about how we sort our reality and how we "know" things.
i was feeding his internal state back to him and he didn`t like it.
in nlp this is called pacing. matching behaviour until contact is made.
the next step is leading.