By W. Henry Gregory, Jr. Ph.D and Jannette M. Gregory, LCSW-C Woodstock, Maryland, U.S.A.
(This is the second installment in a series of articles on communication.
Please see part I here)
“When one drops all forms of judgment, clear communication from heart to heart has a chance to blossom.” (The Orion Transmissions, 9.21.12).
Judgment is our defense against uncertainty. It is our attempt to bypass true interaction that requires vulnerability with the disguise of certainty. It is our effort to discredit, minimize or ignore influence from the other. Judgment gets us caught up in dichotomous thinking patterns that divide people and experiences into neat categories that support vain attempts to control life.
Many of us are socialized to value being right over being happy. The need to be right sabotages our connections with each other by keeping us in a competitive mode. True communication that is open and responsive facilitates cooperation.
True communication is based in compassion, and compassion breeds understanding and connection. It is through connection that we begin to express possibility beyond the limitations of thought and reason. When we are truly compassionate, our communications with others build a unified field of energy reflecting the actualized potential of all involved.
Shree Vasant proposed that we ask ourselves before we speak: Is It True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?
Only truth should be spoken, and all truth does not need to be voiced. Whatever truth need be spoken can be spoken with kindness and compassion. Without kindness, our speech is reactive and confrontational. Kindness and compassion breed cooperation, creating alluring energy that communicates respect and value to the other. True communication establishes a “natural, harmonious circulation of energies” (Orion Transmissions, 9.21.12) and builds a unified expression. With the right equipment we can actually see this dynamic intermingling of energy at the quantum level of experience.
We are most challenged to be compassionate in our communications when our perspective is different from the other. Yet, this is when it is most needed. Compassion is the bridge of understanding. When we begin to understand that everyone is right from his/her perspective and we accept their input as being valid from their perspective, we open the gates for real dialogue and create the possibility of building a larger understanding. Confidence, courage and stillness are required to entertain divergent perspectives, and they are the foundations of learning. The made-up mind cannot really grow, nor can it facilitate connection and understanding.
At our core, we are all expressions of the Divine. When we interact with this awareness, regardless of the surface presentation, we create possibilities. The key is to listen deeply to the heart of the other. When we listen beyond the words to hear the other and hear their feelings, we get closer to true understanding of what is being communicated. For example, negativity is usually grounded in hurt, pain or fear. When we respond to another based on our understanding of his/her hurt or fear, we connect with them at a deeper, more substantial level.
The first responsibility in communication is to listen deeply. The second is to show or express some level of understanding of what has been shared. It does not matter if your attempt at initial understanding is accurate or not, as it starts the negotiation process that is a part of all communication. Your attempt allows the other the opportunity to assess his/her offering, correct your interpretation if necessary, and get clearer.
In heart-to-heart communication, the listener takes responsibility to help the speaker express him/herself and to respond to what has been said. Often, we listen to criticize, correct, disagree, find fault, etc. In other words, we listen to “prove our point.” This is disingenuous.
Deep listening is an act of service that is usually effective when we:
- Give full (physical, mental, and emotional) attention;
- Help the speaker speak (by showing interest and providing positive encouragement);
- Support the speaker’s effort to share (whether we agree with them or not); and
- Manage our reactions/emotions (by noticing our own internal inferences and biases).
The Open Heart
Open doors, open minds, open hearts
The open heart, opens minds, opens doors
It leads where only the brave follow
It cannot be intimidated, manipulated or owned
The open heart knows through feelings
And feels through knowing
The open heart has the courage to feel
And feels through its courage
The open heart understands
The open hearts takes a stand for love