The Sun is in Gemini, one of the air signs that governs words and communication. Gemini is also associated with the muse archetype, and with all the ways in which inspiration flows into our lives and in which we connect with the abundant river of creativity, But today, lets focus on communication, that is another river itself. .
In the recent Anusara yoga gathering in Italy, Samavesha 2017, it has been fascinating to enjoy the diversity of voices and all the different forms in which the teachings are lived and expressed. To share in community is so beautiful, and at the same time, I am totally aware that one of our greatest challenges are community and communication. It is so difficult at times to express our truth. To listen other´s truth. To understand and be understood. A big challenge. To make things more complicated, we live in times of global community. Yes, I am talking about social media communities. It is an issue that intrigues me and, I have been contemplating the dynamics of communication in this territory and how, from my point of view, they reflect and intensify what we can call "the shadow of communication".
Words are powerful. In yoga there is the concept of Matrika Shakti. Literally “ the power of letters”. Letters, in the Sanskrit alphabet, are called Matrikas, little mothers, because they give birth to words, and then to our verbal or written expression.
Words are loaded with Shakti, with generative energy, either or not we are aware of it. They serve to teach and to learn. To inspire others. To touch hearts. To uplift and empower. To delight. But they can also serve to hurt people. To put someone down. To manipulate the truth. To betray a secret.
Years ago, most of shared information was contrasted and verified. It was unusual that, for instance, private conversations, were made public. In our virtual communication becomes very easy to say whatever you want without proving wether is true or not. Or to share private information since everything gets somehow recorded. We have access to thousands and it is possible to say anything just facing your computer or your iPhone screen. Yes, social media place all of us in a very vulnerable space. It is said that a lie told many times becomes a truth. And this is what sometimes happens. Someone publish something that in a minute a bunch of individuals "share" and "comment", adding an opinion maybe without really knowing the facts or the intentions behind them. Yes, it is like in a "reality show" but here nobody gets paid,
The way we communicate says a lot about ourselves. In psychology they talk about the shadow: all the parts of ourselves that are hidden, unattended, but actually running the show of our lives. Our unconscious reactions originate there and so it does our reactive speech. Most opinions are in great part triggered by the depths of our own shadow.
This greater exposure and reach of our words strongly calls us to be even more conscious of the power and energy they hold.
So maybe you would like to contemplate the following questions:
- Are you aware of your communication pattern?
- Do you speak from a place of reactivity?
- Would you be willing to observe those patterns and try to change the ones that do not serve you or others?
- Would you like to communicate from the heart and always thinking about the greater good?
There are teachings from psichology, from yoga and from other Eastern traditions that can illuminate this issue and bring about healthier ways. Communication can become a powerful yoga practice. And it is a daily practice!! So although it is not an easy one, there are some simple steps we can follow.
- A fundamental aspect is shadow work.
One way to know your shadow is to observe which are the behaviours and comments from others that trigger you. Ask yourself why they make you feel so uncomfortable or agitated, without placing the emphasis on the other person or the action or comment themselves, but on you. We bring to light past experiences or unconscious patterns, so they will stop controlling us from hiding. parts of the unconscious mind that they will stop controlling from the shadow. Then there is no reactivity but conscious communication.
- Take time every day to bring your attention inside
Nothing new under the Sun here. The yogic practices of pranayama, meditation, contemplation, really improve anything in our lives. Few days ago I was studying the Shiva Sutras with Carlos Pomeda. The main teaching is that human beings get lost constantly in the extroversión of our own lives. This causes lack of clarity and suffering. The antidote is to dedicate some time to bring the attention closer to the Self. And if we get stablished in that place inside, and we communicate from there, communication happens, not from reactivity but from compassion. With time, the external craziness starts to affect us less and less, for instance, what the others say, even if the talk is about us.
The Four Gates of Speech.
If everything above is still a bit abstract for you, this is a very down to earth practice that you can start to use in your next conversation.
PRACTICE: The Four Gateways of Speech
This practice, from sufi origin, it is in alignment with the Buddhist teachings about communication. It says that we should only communicate something if if can go with a YES through the following "gateways":
Is it truthful?
Is it necessary and is it the right time?
Is it for the highest good?
Is it the kindest way to say it?
If the answer to any of this questions is NO, then you should find another way or another time to communicate. Or maybe you should not say it.
Let me know your thoughts and the effect of these practices on your communication with others.
Connect inside and don´t be afraid to express your truth from the heart.