Updated: May 1, 2020
Why is it that one thing said can cause a huge emotional reaction in one person and not within another?
What do we make it mean, is it always what the other person is intending?
Sometimes without doubt another person is trying to trigger another but what has triggered the initial attack? Is that person evil or full of malicious intent or are they interpreting everything as an attack? What is being attacked?
Our interpretations of what we hear are just as important as being careful with how we communicate with one another. This discussion was to help flesh out these misunderstandings and explore effective communication methods utilising the collective intelligence of group discussion.
The discussion started off with the following check-in;
The origin of the word communication comes from the latin word ‘communicare’ which means to share. What is it that we wish to share with our communication?
To learn about ourselves, to belong, to teach, pass on information, to be seen, heard, to clear, to define the intention, to connect to one another, to build community, and more.
There seemed to be two contrasting origins of communication. One coming from the head, the mind, passing on directions, commands, literal information and another that comes from the heart or somewhere less identifiable, a knowing that encompassed the totality of feeling from the body.
Both have a purpose and a function. Throughout the conversation we seemed to be going backwards and forwards as to which one is more effective or affective. We noticed that as we strive for clarity or authenticity we ignore the beauty of qualitative communication. This striving reflects the Western world’s restless race towards goals, convenience, facts and quantitative values.
Entrenched within this quantitative value system we can clearly see that the heart, holistic and qualitative communication is missing; consideration of relationship, the feelings of others, compassion and empathy. Communicating from the heart does not factor in fact, quantitative values or goals but creates strong connection, community and deepens relationship with everything.
One human shared their understanding of the qualitative form of communication as ‘poetry’, and if we ignore this less rational form of communication we ignore beauty and the present moment itself. The dance of communication, the jam gets lost as we strive to communicate the textbook of who we are. Yet we remain unknown to ourselves and others in truth, which then in turn clashes with the personal history packages and stories we attach to each other.
In Krishnamurti’s book, ‘freedom from the known’, he speaks of the totality of issues resting upon the conflict between past ideas and the present receiving of what is (1). In a youtube clip of Elkhart Tolle speaking to communication he observed that when you do not react to the personal history package and story emerging from a family member expressing it stuns the family member and can lead to them turning it up or confused as to their own position or ego (2). A space is created to observe the unknown and create a new relationship, idea of a person, or meaning. This sometimes harmful habitual communication aligns itself with our harmful societal practices endangering our environment.
Presence is being demanded by our own pain bodies and nature itself as we continue to interpret the world and our relationships in a harmful way as well as remain incompetent communicators. Ignoring our destructive communication methods and interpretations of each other’s expressions has left relationship, community, the internal world, nature and the feminine disrespected, undervalued and wounded.
‘Poetry is the chaos of communication.’ - Human group member
Perhaps it is the chaos of nature, the unknown and relationship as well. Our striving for clarity, goals and the quantitative is valued and for good reason, but the chaos of reality is ignored and suppressed yet we enjoy the spontaneity and beauty of it everyday as it shifts and promotes growth within us.
‘Value chaos for f*$k’s sake’, seems to be the common message our collective discussions throw at us almost every session.
The entire conversation rested on the polarities of these two forms of communication and the most amount of misinterpretations come to pass when one person is communicating qualitatively (the heart) and the other is communicating quantitatively (the mind) and it is almost impossible sometimes to determine where the origin of communication is coming from.
As a fairly general rule people with a more masculine way of being will hear the poetry of a person with a feminine leaning and attempt to cognitively deconstruct or fix what seems to be an issue. The masculine hears the words literally and is not adept in receiving the emotional poetic expression that just wants to be received and acknowledged.
The same goes the other way, when the masculine communicates something directly, as information, literal to the words being said, the feminine can interpret the cold emotional delivery as a rejection and respond to that rather than the literal words being expressed.
How do we create space for both forms of communication?
I recall a youtube clip about communication that opened my capacity to communicate to emotional poetry. Previously I would try to fix it and take an opposing stance that would feel like rejection to the person expressing. In this clip the speaker suggested acknowledging and receiving the emotional expression first and foremost and then once the emotion body is acknowledged the problem solving mind can make gentle contributions with clear consent. Sometimes the mere action of acknowledging another’s emotional expression is enough to calm the expresser and induce a feeling of belonging and love.
When I listen to another speaking a poem that they have written I gain access to their authentic essence that can never be communicated in a cognitive explanation.There is an authenticity within the chaos of communication that is far greater than any literal explanation.
We are missing out on witnessing the authenticity and essence of reality and life the more we suppress and ignore that which does not make sense.
Let us all make space for the poetry that is with us every present moment.
Krishnamurti. J . Freedom from the known. 1969. HarperCollins. London
Tolle, E. Being present in relationships. 2008. Youtube.