We are always communicating, even when we’re not with other people. When we’re not with other people, an inner communication is going on. Actually the inner communication is always going on. If we want to live an enlightened life or simply a more happy, peaceful, loving and sane life, it seems a good idea to learn what EnLIGHTened Communication is. Since we’re always communicating, EnLIGHTened Communication will greatly improve our entire life.
The Normal Way We Communicate
How we’ve been conditioned to communicate is anything but enlightened, and it doesn’t make for a happy, peaceful, loving or sane life. It is in fact a major cause of our suffering.
Let’s look at the difference between our normal conditioned way of communicating with self and others and an EnLIGHTened Way of communicating.
Normal Communication is Judgmental
We not only judge others, but ourselves as well. This self-judgment is part of our inner communication. Whether we’re judging others or ourselves, it makes us unhappy. Judging closes our heart down. It makes the person we’re judging smaller. It makes us smaller. It makes the whole world smaller. Judging is a form of violence to ourselves and others, as Marshall Rosenberg teaches in Nonviolent Communication.
EnLIGHTened Communication is Non-Judgmental
In EnLIGHTened Communication we don’t judge. Instead we observe without judging. In this great Unity, there is nothing to judge, but much to observe.
Normal Communication is Not Truly Honest
We may think we are being completely honest, but true honesty goes much deeper than our thoughts. We often create a mask, consciously or unconsciously, to hide our deepest self-doubts and insecurities.
EnLIGHTened Communication is Radically Honest
There is an absolute purity and innocence about our True Being. It is always completely honest with self and others. It is always fully open to each moment. No thoughts, feelings or sensations are repressed or resisted. There is no mask and nothing to cover up. This complete inner honesty is reflected in outer honesty. This doesn’t mean what is expressed is harmful to others, although sometimes the ego is not thrilled. Whatever is said is always of the highest benefit for all. And this happens effortlessly, spontaneously and without the interference of thought.
Normal Communication is All About Me
Our inner dialogue is focused on ourselves as a separate being. What do I think, feel, want, need, prefer. Instead of giving the other person our full attention, we’re often waiting for our turn to speak or interpreting what they are saying as it relates to our selves and what it means to us.
EnLIGHTened Communication is Free of Self Obsession
In EnLIGHTened Communication we can be fully present for the other person and all of life. No longer seeing ourselves as a separate being, we’re free to fully experience life as it is. This naturally leads to Deep Listening.
Normal Communication is Not Fully Attentive
Because our focus is primarily on the self, we are not able to be fully attentive to the other person or life in general. We are not fully present either for ourselves or others.
EnLIGHTened Communication is Deep Listening
Deep Listening means we are fully attentive to each moment. We listen not only to what is spoken but what remains unspoken as well. We listen to feelings, sensations and thoughts that are not expressed. We listen to energy both within ourselves and in the person we are with. We listen fully with our entire being. Any self-concern dissolves completely in this full presence and attention. Deep Listening is a wonderful Buddhist practice and is an essential aspect of EnLIGHTened Communication. It is important to practice Deep Listening with another person, but it is even more important to practice Deep Listening in every moment of life.
Normal Communication is About the Separate Self
We have been conditioned to experience the world as separate. We are separate from the world. And everything in the world is separate from everything else. Our language reinforces this conditioning. We live in a world of self and other.
EnLIGHTened Communication is About Unity / Oneness
In EnLIGHTened Communication we do not experience the world or ourselves as separate. There is an underlying wholeness and unity. The person we are listening to or speaking to is not other. There is a wholeness, a unity, a oneness.
Normal Communication is About Fear
There is an underlying fear in our normal, conditioned communication. We may not notice this, but it is an essential component of the separate self-identity. We fear appearing foolish or stupid or not good enough. We cover this up by trying to present a more favorable appearance. This appearance is like a mask covering up our basic insecurities and self-doubts.
EnLIGHTened Communication is About Love
In EnLIGHTened Communication we speak completely from our hearts. There is no mask. There is nothing to cover up. We are love itself. The “other” is love itself. There is nothing but love. We are innocent, pure and guileless as a new-born infant. With nothing to hide or protect, we are fully present and in touch with everything that arises in every moment.
Normal Communication is About the Head
Normal conditioned communication is mostly about thoughts, opinions, judgments, beliefs and knowledge. It is about the head. This is as true for our conversations with others as it is for our inner dialogue. In normal, conditioned communication we trust our thoughts, opinions and beliefs and believe they are true.
EnLIGHTened Communication is About the Spiritual Heart
EnLIGHTened Communication is focused on the Spiritual Heart, not the mind. When we speak, we are open to a wisdom that is beyond our limited knowledge, opinions and beliefs. It flows through by itself. We are open to our Higher Self, Source, God. This is also what we see in the “other”. We see through the shadow of the ego mask to something far deeper and more real. It is this True Self that we feel such enormous unconditional love for. There is a complete “not knowing” of the mind, which creates a deep honesty and humility. We don’t believe our thoughts, opinions and beliefs are true. They are only thoughts, abstract conceptions, not reality. At the same time there is a complete “knowing” of the spiritual heart which has nothing to do with mental knowledge at all.
The Practice of EnLIGHTened Communication
We and everyone we know have been conditioned to communicate in a certain way. And this way of communicating is reinforced in every conversation we have. In addition, our conditioned inner communication is reinforced in every thought and even in our dreams. To change this conditioning is going to take some serious practice. Here are some suggestions.
Spend Time With Enlightened Beings
They have overcome this conditioning and naturally communicate in an EnLIGHTened Way. You can do this through books and now YouTube videos. Be discriminating (but not judgmental) about who is enlightened. Use the guidelines above.
It may be more challenging to actually have a conversation with an enlightened being, but this can be very useful. A transmission happens in the presence of a free being. This happens through the books and YouTube videos and even more in direct contact. Being in a conversation with an enlightened being, you will naturally find yourself communicating in a more enlightened way while you are with them. The human brain and “mirror neurons” makes this possible. It may, in a limited way, be a scientific explanation for transmission. You will always feel good from this experience.
Satsang, books and YouTube videos are wonderful ways to encounter an enlightened being. This is EnLIGHTened Communication, but it is only one way. It is not a practice of EnLIGHTened Communication for you. When are in the presence of an enlightened being one-to-one, you experience, often for the very first time, what it is like to directly experience Deep Listening. For the first time in your life you will feel completely seen and unconditionally loved. This is a profound experience and very healing. You will find yourself naturally speaking from a more enlightened presence. Deep insights will arise in you naturally. If you can do this, it is very worthwhile.
Deep Listening Practice
This is a practice I did every week for many years in my Buddhist Sangha. It was part of what we call Dharma Sharing. Each person in the circle would share from their heart. We try to avoid, as much as possible, any mental sharing of thoughts or opinions or theories. While they were sharing the rest of the Sangha would practice Deep Listening. We gave our full attention to the person, listening to what was said as well as what remained unsaid. Every fiber of our being was fully present for this person. You cannot help but deeply and unconditionally love anyone you listen to in this way. All imagined separation between you dissolves. In this way we practiced Deep Listening at all of our Sangha gatherings. It is a profound and beautiful practice and one that you can do. It greatly helps to overcome the conditioning of our normal self-centered way of listening.
You can do this in a formal organized way as we did with our Sangha practice. You can choose even one friend who is willing to practice this with you. And you can also practice Deep Listening without telling the other person. They will be very happy you are doing it even if they don’t know what you are doing. You can practice Deep Listening in every conversation you engage in. You will find that people love being with you more than ever.
Deep Listening with Yourself
You can also do a Deep Listening practice with your inner dialogue and I highly recommend this. Observe those thoughts that you have always identified as you. Observe them without judgment. Notice how you feel when certain thoughts arise. Listen to the thoughts and also what is not spoken: the feelings, the sensations in the body. Listen to the body’s energy.
Lets say you are listening to or reading some political news. This can often be very judgmental. If judgments are triggered in you, as is often the intention, notice what this feels like. How does your heart feel? You may notice a constriction in the area of the heart, a tightening, a heaviness. Don’t judge. Observe. Often this is how judgments affect us emotionally, physically and spiritually. You feel more separate. Some people are good and others are bad. The world is divided up into those who agree with our values, thoughts and beliefs and those who do not.
Notice this. Pay attention. Pay attention to both the thoughts and the feelings. Observe. Feel these feelings fully. Is this how you want to live your life? What is the difference between this heavy, tight, small, painful feeling in the heart and this great expanded feeling of unconditional love and joy? Notice this. Pay attention. This is what judgment does. This is how judgments affect you. Do you like this? Or is there another way?
Deep Listening to your own thoughts and feelings can be very healing and revealing. It is a wonderful practice. You will learn things about yourself you never imagined before. Deep listening with others is one of the most loving and healing things you can do for another person.
Stop Believing Your Thoughts Are True
Realize and accept that none of your thoughts are reality. They are only thoughts. This will give you enormous creative freedom to play with your thoughts, use them when they are useful, ignore them when they are not (which is far more often then you might now imagine) and treat them lightly without attachment. In this way you begin to use your thoughts rather than continue to be used by them. When you are free of servitude to your conditioned thoughts, you realize how most people are slaves to their thoughts, opinions and beliefs. You see the suffering this brings them, just as it did to you. It takes some time to become free of this conditioned attachment. Be loving, compassionate, understanding and gentle when you engage with those who are very attached to their thoughts and opinions. Not everyone is ready for freedom from this attachment no matter how much suffering it brings. If you’re having difficulty yourself, I recommend looking into the practices of Byron Katie and the Work. She specializes in helping people become free of their attachment to thoughts.
Peace, Bliss and Unconditional Love
In EnLIGHTened Communication you will naturally feel the great peace, bliss and unconditional love of your True Original Nature. This is one of the most practical ways of knowing the practice is going well. In ordinary conversation you may also experience some happiness or love depending on what is being discussed and who you are with, but that is not what I’m referring to. In EnLIGHTened Communication, this great peace, bliss and unconditional love has no reason for being. It does not depend on what is being discussed or who you are with or anything at all. It is causeless. It simply is. It is your True Original Nature. When you experience this, you know your practice of EnLIGHTened Communication is going very well.
We are used to communications being about words and thoughts, but EnLIGHTened Communication is a bit different. Very often EnLIGHTened Communication happens in a deep silence and stillness. Even when words are spoken, they also come from this deep silence and stillness. Somehow a profound communication happens even though there are no words or thoughts, and, perhaps, because there are no words or thoughts. Even when words are spoken, there is always this deep silence and stillness which is the true communication.
If you have not experienced this profound communication that comes from silence and stillness, attend a silent retreat. After a few days, when your thoughts have settled down, you will realize this profound communication that happens even though nobody is speaking. You can also experience this by initiating days of silence in your home and with friends. You can do this for one day per week, a weekend or a week. The longer the period of silence, the deeper you will realize the profound power of something so seemingly simple.
EnLIGHTened Communication Practice in Daily Life
Pay attention to your thoughts while you are alone and also in conversation with others. According to the guidelines for EnLIGHTened Communication is this normal conditioned communication or EnLIGHTened Communication? Practice moving more and more toward EnLIGHTened Communication. Notice when you slip back into conditioned habits of communication, both internally and with others. Practice returning to EnLIGHTened Communication.
Practice EnLIGHTened Communication with those who already communicate in this way. This will be easiest. Practice with your friends. Practice in every conversation without needing to say what you’re doing. Practice in every engagement with others. Practice while listening to the news or reading your emails. Practice in your meditations with every thought that arises. There is no shortage of opportunities to practice EnLIGHTened Communication. It is much like the Buddhist Precepts or guidelines for living a spiritual life in all traditions. Those who are enlightened act this way naturally. And it is the same for EnLIGHTened Communication. Those who are enlightened communicate in this way naturally, both internally and externally. The more you practice EnLIGHTened Communication, the more you practice the spiritual guidelines of your tradition, the closer you come to living a spiritual and enlightened life. These are the practicalities of spiritual practice.
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