Archive for the ‘Questioning’ Category

What Comes After Fall?

What’s the hype
about falling
in love?
Sure enough, letting yourself fall
requires letting of control,
which may well be a sign
of round inner strength.
Then again, it may be
the result
of merely tripping.

But the problem with falling
is it stops
very soon.
And quite brutally,
I might add.

What I want
to know
is the secret of those
who can stand up from falling
and still be in love.
Was their love so deep all along
that it fully covered their height?
Or maybe
they managed
to bring it from down there
as they rose on their feet?

So you’re falling
for me.
Should I catch you?
Tell me this:
are you willing
to stand with me
in love?

 

Attached to non-attachment?

“He’d avoided creating family ties, believing they might hold him back from attaining spiritual freedom.”

Hmpf.

The above quote is from an article on the life of an enlightened guru. I’m not pointing to the source because my interest here is for the concept itself, not for a specific person adhering to it. And anyway, the view is not unique to this guru; it’s not unusual for people in an ambitious spiritual search to strongly evade attachment to “earthly” matters. Paradoxically, avoidance of attachment is also quite popular among the not-so-enlightened people characterized by the famous fear of intimacy.

No, I’m not suggesting enlightened-wannabes and intimacy-avoiders are the same thing. They do have different motivations pushing their behaviours. At the same time, they do share this part of the strategy. And the thing I constantly don’t get is how they aim at obtaining freedom by evading something, when to me it’s clear that what we avoid is what imprisons us more tightly than anything. (Just to be sure: I’m talking about avoidance, not about the aware choice of not doing something based on evidence that doing it would bring more damage than benefit in the context.)

I haven’t yet formed some clear beliefs about divinity and life after death. Nor about the general purpose of life on earth, although here I’m almost sure that the answer involves “living it”. As introverted as I am, I’d strongly question a divinity I’d discover solely or mostly in isolation, especially when it comes to some of the deepest quests of humans – such as attachment to others. How can avoiding these contribute to true spiritual growth as a human being? I’d be greatly disappointed to find out that God’s master plan for us was something along the lines of “Let’s throw them in there and see if they can learn the supreme lesson, which they can only learn by skipping the most difficult and practical classes”.

On the other hand, I do resonate with the strive to avoid attachment that stops our growing. I just see a different solution for this (or maybe I’m just phrasing it differently): looking for healthy attachment. How does this sound to you?

 

Where do all those words go, when they go?

The quietest member of the family usually has the most to say“, according to some psychologists, including the one blogging here.

Which reminded me of the time my teammate and I went to interview some teenagers (volunteers in a charity project) for a TV program. When they saw us with the camera and microphone, some of them started making jokes and loud comments. They became less vocal when I asked them if they want to give a short interview, but they agreed. The content of their answers didn’t match their initial spontaneity. Then I approached a girl who seemed rather reserved, working on her tasks rather far from the loud group. She said she’s not comfortable with the camera and fears she’ll mess it up, but after a bit of encouragement agreed to participate. The answers she gave were some of the most impressive I ever received while playing reporter – simple words with a sense of wisdom and a touch of genuine emotion.

It was not the first time I heard a quiet person making more sense in a few words than a very vocal person in a few hours. That’s not directly because of quietness, but because quiet people have more time to listen. And the qualities we develop while listening turn out to raise the quality of our speaking, too.

Still, I constantly run into depictions of “good communication” only from the perspective of the emitter.

During a workshop aimed mostly for psychologists, one of the group exercises we had to do was find concrete examples of behaviours performed by “a good communicator“. Ideas were flowing rapidly: “speaks clearly”, “is on topic”, “uses language and style appropriate for the context” and so on, until I took an introvertedly deep breath and then released the air together with the first idea I’d had on the subject: “listens“.

I’m always amazed at how much advice is out there on how to deliver information compared to the advice on how to take the information in. Could it be because people who love giving advice are better at speaking than at listening? Yes, there is some irony I’m throwing here and my experience as an introvert in a world dominated by extroverts is surely a source of bias, but I am also curious to understand this.

I’m always amazed at how much and how deep people end up telling me if I just really listen to them. And I see it as an exchange of gifts – they give me their trust, I give them my attention.

I’m also amazed at how much I have to say when faced with genuine curiosity for my inner world. I may even overdo it if this attention comes after a too long period of being mostly silent.

So it looks like we all enjoy and sometimes even need to be listened to. Then why is there so much social gratification for the loudest of us? And why do people who are mostly quiet usually get classified into categories with at least slightly pejorative names? If all of us would be “good communicators” only in the sense of “good emitters of information”, there would be nobody left to receive the messages we’re sending.

How would you define a “good listener“? And where do you learn these skills from?