How to be a Better Conversationalist by Sarah Lowndes


I read somewhere once that one way to be a better conversationalist is to tell yourself when you're in the middle of a conversation, that "the next conversation can be about you." Once you tell yourself this, you can get out of your own head and be more present to what the other person is saying. What's usually happening in a conversation is you're waiting to say something, thinking of your own response, thinking about your own situation--your ego is getting in the way. Your ego is trying to assert itself. Your ego is putting up a wall between the other person and you. And so, it's not only remembering this ("the next conversation can be about you") in conversation with someone else, but also when trying to listen to yourself. Your true self is in there, giving you advice, insight and love, but your ego gets in the way. "No, this temporary thing I'm feeling right now is more important!" But it's never true. "The next conversation can be about you, ego." Give yourself space to listen.


Listen by Lindsay Myers

As I've been meditating on the idea of Listening, there has been an excerpt from Siddhartha that has been sitting with me. He comes to a point in his life where he feels as though he has lost his way, and comes upon a river and a ferryman that teach him important lessons. He begins to hear lessons from the river. The excerpt reads:

"He learned from it (the river) unceasingly. Above all he learned from it how to listen, how to listen with a still heart, with an expectant, open soul, without passion, without desire, with-out judgement, without opinion."

I find in my life, that I tend to block out the sounds that I don't want to hear. If they are words from other's, I immediately think of my defensive words as a tool to block the other's out. These are the sounds that end up filling my mind and my body. "They don't understand what you're going through," "What do they know anyways?" "They just need to shut up and leave me alone."

But, if we can learn to tune out these sounds, to go deeper into WHY we feel the need to fill our heads with negativity, we can get deeper to healing. Deeper to a place of loving words, of nurturing. In Siddhartha, he learns this through empty listening. To become a vessel without judgement. To truly open your ears, your mind and your heart without fear of what you may hear.

It's been amazing to me as I've been practicing quieting down my mind just how much it's filled with. I thought it would just be the day to day, what I had to do later, that my leggings were too small for me, was I sitting too close to the person next to me. When I close my eyes and center before class, it's so much deeper. They are sounds have been filling myself with my whole life. So often I avoid these by surrounding myself with MORE sound. Always walking around with headphones on, turning on the TV or scrolling through my phone when I get home instead of simply giving myself a few moments of silence. When I sit in this silence, I have begun to realize these sounds in my mind are harmless. What once controlled my life are just thoughts, just musings. What is more powerful is the light, the I Am that knows better than to listen to that. But to listen to my breath, to listen to my heartbeat, and be slightly reborn every time.

In practicing this, I've found greater self awareness and greater peace and I look forward to what the second half of the month will bring.



(Jan Theme 2016: Listen)

There’s a lot of background noise. From the city streets to the mumble of thoughts and worries in your head. Trucks belt out their gas guzzling roar, clashing music wars, arguments and conversations, thousands of people in short radius, talking, thinking, sending out frequencies to interrupt your clear personal connection to your inner peace.
In addition to the external sounds, there’s the clamor of your own internal dialogue. Have you ever slowed down enough to actually witness the many layers of thoughts in your head? The mind wants to dissect, assign value, meaning, judgment, to both yourself and others. It does that to protect you, to help you grow and learn, and progress. It’s an ever running engine. Until you slow down enough, to hear it, you may not even notice it’s been left churning, nor how much of your energy it’s draining to keep itself on.
The process of finding our deepest inner wisdom involves a journey through all this noise, to hear the truth beneath it all. The truth lies in the silence. Beyond the ramblings of the mental mind, the mind of higher intelligence has amazing things to say. But we have to listen.
That place is called the anahat nadam. It’s the nectar of your deepest truth and highest potential. A well spring of unwavering energy, and happiness. It’s always there waiting. If you can slowly start to move in, identifying each distracting sound as a never ending sea of “neti neti” “not this, not this” Eventually the soundless sound prevails, and you are swimming in wisdom and peace.
This month we’ll practice:
Listening to yourself: Meander through the noisy jungle until it gets quiet and there you will emerge.
Listen to others: Listen for their gift to you, for each encounter carries it. Wisdom, love, a lesson, or even just an opportunity to grow as you learn how to best relate to them. Each person has something to say, and appreciates greatly someone who will truly listen to them.
When you become an avid listener your ears become tuned like the top level sound engineer who can hear every detail separate from each other.  Where most people get lost in the noise,  the well versed listener can wade through the bramble of influences that don’t serve the highest in all, and land on truth.  The practice of listening, will help you have compassion and connection with others, and help you feel empowered in your own self. Knowing who you are is the most precious gift that takes a lifetime to discover, and it can only be done when we tune in and listen.