Sitting here on a seemingly quiet Sunday morning. I ponder silence and communication. In the past several months my experience of these two states has stretched my concepts and understanding of them, and I continue to be amazed and curious at the complexities thereof. What is communication? Is it the act of speaking, being herd, seeking of attention, etc. and what makes it effective? What is silence? Is it quiet amidst noise, listening, being still, etc.and how does silences occur? Can communication happen in silence and can silence exist without any form of communication, including that of ones internal dialogue to oneself? When you communicate are you being herd, are you saying what you really mean, and does your communication work? When you are listening are you silent or is the stream of inner communication interfering with the communication that is taking place in front of you? These are some of the questions that have arisen as of late, partly due to my new circumstances, which require a whole new level of communication as I embark on “directing” my care. Communication now on a daily basis is my lifeline and there is little room for error, consequently the new awareness and interest in our curious communication patterns.
In addition to my direct perceptions I had the pleasure of meeting and “speaking” with Baba Hari Das of Salt Spring Center of Yoga recently, where the parameters of everyday communication are out of the norm as he had chosen a vow of silence over thirty years ago. When I queried as to the purpose/intention of this vow his friend replied that after a very disturbing incident of violent communication with some villagers due to a miscommunication on their part he took the vow for one year. During that time it became very apparent to him the waste and leakage of prana-lifeforce that occurs due to humans misdirected and non-essential communication, at which time he chose to extend his vow indefinitely.
After close scrutiny and assessment of my own communication “styles” I have to admit a vague sense of concern at the purity of my spoken word. The barometer that I use as a backdrop of the highest standards in his regard is the Yamas and Niyamas of the Yoga Sutras authored by Patanjali. These ancient writings and their perennial wisdom are profound tools for living for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Incorporating guidelines for things to avoid (yamas) and things to observe (niyamas) these first two limbs from the tree of Ashtanga yogic practices are essential foundations for personal conduct and inner harmony..
The guideline of the second yama of Satya or truthfulness may seem obvious to most law abiding citizens, however looked at more thoroughly it becomes apparent that there is more to truth than merely avoiding outright lies or skipping a few years off on your age. The practice of Satya I feel, is a moment to moment reflection of both my internal and external dialogue with the following questions in mind:
Is this truthful?
Am I exaggerating, rationalizing, and being pretentious or deceitful in any way?
These are not the easiest questions to deal with in the heat of an emotional discussion let alone or on a day to day basis as we weave our way through the tapestry of life.
The smallest act of deception or untruthfulness however creates much more misery and confusion than it is worth. .
. Imagine a radio and the various frequencies/stations it can pick up when tuned in accurately. With just the slightest discrepancy on the dial, the static and feedback make it impossible to hear and understand what is trying to be communicated.
Ultimately we all seek to be heard and understood. Wise words that cane across my desk years ago articulate this well. “Give exactly what you want and need to the other in any given relationship a s a means to healing and resolution. This of course takes time, patience and willingness, which are virtues that need daily cultivation
At this point I would like to thank each of you for your patience with my communication challenges. I appreciate all of your efforts at reaching out to me, in many instances without any immediate results or tangible response. Things are gradually piecing their way back to functionality after the devastation of the impact of a spinal cord injury. I am discovering more and more “ability” within my dis-ability. I hope to continue to share and communicate with you whatever I can, and to hear from you as well. I have no doubt that we are all being called to heal all levels of our being, and in order for that to happen we will become more and more transparent. Be prepared to see and be seen with more truth and the potential discomfort that may provoke. Again, practice patience. willingness, and the space that things of value deserve.
Bless you all, Mary-Jo