Last week I was driving across the great state of Texas. No, it didn’t take all week, but it sure can feel that way when 10 of your 16 hour drive is in the same big state. In order to help pass the time, I listened to a few audio books. This is a great way to read with your ears when your eyes are too busy navigating around semi-trucks. One of the books I listened to was one of my favorites of all time: The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. While this wasn’t the first time I have immersed myself in this book, it was a much different experience to listen to it than it was to read it.
Listening to Eckhart read his own works delivered his message in a way that included his own inflection, and emphasis on ideas that can be missed when reading alone. This got me thinking about several things in relation to how people communicate and share ideas. It got me wondering as we are so surrounded by technology choices, how many of the challenges that we experience in our relationships are due to poor or misunderstood communication and how difficult it can be to catch the meaning of something when reading it without hearing the verbal cues.
Now, this is not a blog to bash texting or emails and especially not love notes, but it is a chance to consider how much you may be missing if the majority of your communication with your beloved is done in writing instead of actually speaking.
See, when I read The Power of Now, I fundamentally understood the words and grasped the general concept (albeit I read it in between taking naps as reading in order to fall asleep is my own issue which has caused a greater amount of time needed to actually read an entire book while awake), but I missed out on what the author actually emphasized when he reads the words to me. For example, when I read the words “The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain that you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level it is some form of negativity.” I understood that most people create their own difficulties through their own thought process. When I heard the author speak the words to me, the meaning jumped up and smacked me a good one. By not accepting and truly focusing what IS right now, you are fighting a battle that can’t be won. Where you are right NOW is not the same as where you were or where you will be forever, so instead of fighting it, accept what it is right NOW so you can get onto the business of actually choosing what to think and/or what to do about it. Wha-la! Stress-be-gone. Get yourself into the present moment; this is where your life is happening.
Connect in the Present Moment
Let’s bring that concept back into communication with each other. When we read, we interpret the meaning of the words through our own filters of how we feel, what mood we are in, how we see the world, what we assume the other person’s day has been or what their motives are. There is so much of “us” that is put into our understanding of reading someone else’s words that it is very easy to miss the meaning that they were hoping to convey. Nothing (or No-Thing) can replace the value of actually hearing someone speak. Texting and writing is a good additional method to reach out to each other, but make sure it is not replacing meaningful conversation where you can connect in the present moment. There is a connection that penetrates our psyche so much deeper when we hear a beloved’s voice talk about their feelings than when we simply read them. Even more when we can hear them and see them. Even more when we can hear them, see them and touch them. Engage as many senses as possible when you communicate with your partner. Let me emphasize a piece of that in case it didn’t get through as clearly as I hope: Engage as many SENSES as possible when you communicate WITH your partner. Senses do not include the mind. Be present with each other fully. The mind chatters and thinks about what to say next and makes judgments. Be as present as possible through your sense of being with each other and talk with each other in the moment, in the NOW.