Friday, August 29, 2008

It's All About Communication!

After spending some time with family this summer, I realized that the thing I trip over in our familial interactions is mis-communication.

Ah, yes, that again. It seems that most of my grievances regarding social interactions revolve around communication problems. Why? Because people simply do not say what they mean or tell people what they are thinking and planning and feeling and doing and experiencing. It results in a maddening guessing game of half truths and running around bushes and hide and seek and all that other B.S. that wastes our life energy and time.

I notice that so many of us do not say what we think, want, feel, or mean. We hide. We beat around the bush. We second guess. We self edit. We censor. We lie.

We're afraid to tell people the truth. We're lying to each other and ourselves. We're avoiding who we really are. We're not being authentic. We're not being real.
And I think this is the one true sin.

Sanity must truly be the ability to communicate your experience of reality to others, and to that extent we are mostly crazy, because we don't.

To Thine Own Self Be True! Heralds the poet and prophet and saint.
Communicate your experience of reality! urges the shaman, healer, and sage.

What have you got to lose if you don't tell the truth? If you don't say what you mean? If you avoid, hide, obfuscate, and pussyfoot? EVERYTHING! Yourself! Reality!

Schools, churches, parents, and our media DO NOT TEACH CLEAR COMMUNICATION.
This much is clear to me.
We must change this! And we can. Each of us. Right now! Starting with ourselves...
Tell the truth. Say what you mean.

How did I come to the observation that so many of us are plagued with the inbability to communicate?

I think it's rooted in my upbringing. With no television, living out in the country, surrounded by books and public radio, I grew a literate, curious, and communicative mind.

I was always ahead in my classes in school in reading and comprehension because of all the reading I did at home. Between the ages of 8 and 12 I read Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Carlos Castaneda, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, the entire King James Bible (several times), the Oxford English Dictionary, and the plays of Sophocles, Euripedes, and the Platonic Dialouges. Then, I cracked into Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Rilke, Kerouac, and the New York Times in my early teens.

I lived with a small American Heritage in my backpack, bag, and bedside table at all times.

And I wrote. I wrote every day, in journals, and notebooks, on crisp white pages in an old Remington, and later on keyboards in Word Perfect, and finally MS Word.

I was always thinking, wondering, asking, reading, writing, and wanting to know the nature of reality and being. I wanted to know why people were the way they were and what we were all here for and how we knew anything. You know, the eternal human questions...

I think that having had an almost completely self-taught and totally self-earned classical education throughout my childhood and teens, via reading all the classics in philosophy and history and literature, and then going to the world's most famous university for Classics Studies, yielded a very precise and discerning mind that seeks, desires, and functions with clear communication.

And I'm not talking about grammar and spelling and punctuation and knowing facts. I'm talking about that curious, open, and honest thirst for knowledge and understanding, the deep drive that spurns one to read and gobble everything in its quest to KNOW, in its quest for knowledge... The Faustian equation... But I didn't sell my soul to the devil for it. Did I? No. I always thought, for sure, it was the business majors and people who seemed only to care about money and how they looked that sold their souls. I remember days in undergraduate school urging people to take up studies in the humanities and give up their material pursuits... Naive and silly, perhaps. But authentic, nevertheless. And that is what counts, right? Authenticity. being real and true to who you are, no matter what.

Ah, clear communication marks this missive from the denizen of literary misfits and intelligentsia.
How can we entreat others to state what they mean, with courage, verve, and resolve?
I ask you all, my fellow human beings, my brothers and sisters, and co-habitators of the planet Earth, to please communicate clearly, say what you mean, and have no fear to be forthright in communication your experience of reality to others. For, in essence, your experience of reality is the only thing you really have. Isn't it?
So give it boldly, proudly, and effusively!

If life is about anything it's about being here and experiencing what there is, and what's the point if you're unable to share that with others, to experience it with others, to describe your experience, to share your reality, and bridge, and connect! It must surely be through this sharing of our experience of reality that we can attain some form of eternality and immortality.
If not to carve an imperishable legend through magnificent deeds, then at least to share in this grand experience.

And how can you share if you don't communicate your experience of reality with others, be it through words, art, gestures, music, architecture, painting, moviemaking or some form or method of communication that allows you to open up to the world and say, "this is me, this is my experience, hello you there, this is me here Hurrah!"?!?!

So, do it.
Please, if you care about anything, care about this. Care that you are important and valid and real, and that you have every right, and thus, responsibility to honor what and who and that you are by sharing and affirming it through communication, the way we go from solipsistic isolation to glorious and expansive meaning making with others.

If you aren't real with others about who you are, how do you expect to ever experience anything truly real with them? Let them know the real you. Open up and give that. Give that one, true, diamond-gem that you possess wholly and truly and always: YOU.
How can expect to ever get, find, be, experience, or do what you really want to in this life and in this world if you don't have the integrity and audacity and responsibility to BE YOURSELF!?!?
And being yourself means expressing yourself and sharing yourself and you do this through clear and honest and open and upfront and raw and naked true communication.

Got it?


This is a couple days after this post and I just got an email from the Course on Miracles with this quote:

"In order to truly communicate, we must take responsibility for the heart space that exists between us and another. It is that heart space, or the absence of it, which will determine whether communication is miraculous or fearful.
—Excerpted from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles"


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