Have you ever found yourself immersed in a conversation so deeply that you forget where you even are? You somehow get lost in the flow between their words and yours, and before you know it a whole hour has passed by. That’s the kind of connection we strive for in all our conversations since we participated in another course at Landmark (a personal and professional growth, training and development company) on communication last week. Now it was nothing like what you would expect from a typical course on communication… there were no public speaking tips or anything of the sort. Rather, the course explored what it is that usually gets in the way of real communication with others, and how to overcome it. And what we discovered was truly life-changing stuff and so in line with the world of mindfulness so we thought as always, we would share it with you!

If you think about it, the biggest thing that gets in the way of real and honest communication with others is…ourselves! As you might know already from our Mindfulness workshops, when we start to observe the inner workings of our mind, we begin to realise that there is a non-stop voice-over commentating on every single thing we or others say and do. Tuning in to this voice-over during a conversation with others has us come to understand that we’re hardly ever listening to what the other person is actually saying. Rather, we are more intently listening to what we think about what the other person is saying. i.e. how it fits in to our perception on the world. We might find ourselves judging, resisting, or making assumptions. We might spend the time defending, justifying, or protecting. We might be controlling, manipulating, or trying to force a particular outcome (consciously or more often not). What we discovered on the course was the extent to which this instinctively takes place and how much it robs us of real communication with others. Take a look for yourselves…

Now if we indeed are committed to amazing relationships with others (which we personally are), it requires that we begin to notice and then give up all that judgement, justification, and control during conversations. What we then find when we take away all that nonsense that usually gets in the way of our conversations, is that we are left with a blank canvas where we are open to anything. We allow the conversation to flow and take a life of it’s own. We are present, curious, and alive. The kind of conversation we get lost in where time passes by without realising it. The epitome of what it means to be truly mindful. So our challenge for you this week is to become aware of your voice-over during conversations with others and see if you can give something up that allows you to be truly present and open once more.