Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

An Article on Conflict Resolution

Posted: December 8, 2012 in Multimedia
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Welcome the disagreement: Remember the slogan, ‘When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.’ If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.

Distrust your first instinctive impression: Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.

Control your temper: Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.

Listen first: Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build barriers of misunderstanding.

Look for areas of agreement: When you have heard your opponent out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.

Be honest: Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.

Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully: And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: ‘We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.’

Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest: Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.

Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem: Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Could my opponents be right? Partly right?
  • Is their truth or merit to their position or argument?
  • Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration?
  • Will my reactions drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me?
  • Will my reaction elevate estimation good people have of me?
  • Will I win or lose?
  • What price will I have to pay if I win?
  • If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over?
  • Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?

This article was published in the booklet Bits and Pieces, which is published by The Economic Press in Fairfield, New Jersey.

The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun. – John D. Rockefeller

Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. – Professor William James of Harvard

Education is the ability to meet life’s situations. – Dr. John G. Hibben, former president of Princeton University

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. – Herbert Spencer

If you teach a man anything, he will never learn. – Bernard Shaw

  • Learning is an active process. We learn by doing… Apply these rules at every opportunity… Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

  • Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because of it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation. – Hans Selye

Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances. – Lincoln

  • When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody. – Benjamin Franklin

  • Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.
  • Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.
    • To know all is to forgive all.

God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days. – Dr. Johnson

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

The desire to be important. – Dr. Dewey

Everybody likes a compliment. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. – William James

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. – Charles Schwab

  • Appreciation is sincere – it comes from the heart out and it is unselfish.
    • Flattery is insincere – it comes from the teeth out and it is selfish.

I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

  • The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
    • Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?”
    • Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own. – Henry Ford

  • Customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.

People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their mind, need never worry about what the future has in store for them. – Owen D. Young

First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way. – Professor Overstreet

Self-expression is the dominant necessity of human nature. – William Winter

  • When we have a brilliant idea, instead making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves. They will then regard it as their own; they will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it.

Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring. – Alfred Adler

  • A tactic to show interest in other people: stage a debate and ask someone for his/her expertise.

We are interested in others when they are interested in us. – Publilius Syrus

2. Smile.

  • Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

Actions seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. – William James

  • Happiness does not depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.

There is nothing either good or bad. But thinking makes it so. – Shakespeare

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. – Abe Lincoln

Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the ruining tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual… Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis. – Elbert Hubbard

3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices. – Emerson

  • The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others.

4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention. – Jacky Woodford, Strangers in Love

There is no mystery about successful business intercourse… Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that. – Charles W. Elliot, former Harvard president

  • If you aspired to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering.

5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.

  • The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.

6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

  • The law is this: Always make the other person feel important.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. – John Dewey

  • Little courteous phrases that oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life:
    • I’m sorry to trouble you
    • Would you be so kind to … ?
    • Would you mind?

Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours. – Disraeli

Part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.

  • … the more I argued against it, the more my prospect argued in favor of it; and the more he argued, the more he sold himself on my competitor’s product.

Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love. – Buddha

  • A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.

Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite. – Lincoln

2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.  Never say “You’re wrong.”

  • … but you will not alter their opinion, for you have hurt their feelings.

Men must be taught as if you taught them not
And things unknown proposed as things forgot. – Alexander Pope

A third kind of thinking is stimulated when anyone questions our belief and opinions. We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told that we are wrong we resent the imputation and harden our hearts. We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem, which is threatened… The little word “my” is the most important one in all human affairs, and properly to reckon with it is the beginning of wisdom. It has the same force whether it is my dinner, my dog, and my house, or my faith, my country, and my God. We not only resent the imputation that our watch is wrong, or our car shabby, but that our conception of the canals of Mars, of the pronunciation of “Epictetus”, of the medicinal value of salicine, or the date of Sargon I, are subject to revision… Few of us take the pains to study the origin of our cherished convictions; indeed, we have a natural repugnance to so doing. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do. – James Harvey Robinson, The Mind in the Making

I have found it of enormous value when I can permit myself to understand the other person. The way in which I have worded this statement may seem strange to you… Very rarely do we permit ourselves to understand precisely what the meaning of the statement is to the other person. – Carl Rogers

3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

  • There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors.  It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
  • Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.

By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.

4. Begin in a friendly way.

If you come at me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, ‘Let us sit down and take counsel together, and if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,’ we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and that if we only have patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together. – Woodrow Wilson

  • If a man’s heart is rankling with discard and ill feeling toward you, you can’t win him to your way of thinking with all the logic in Christendom. Scolding parents and domineering bosses and husbands and nagging wives ought to realize that people don’t want to change their minds. They can’t be forced or driven to agree with you or me. But they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly, ever so gentle and ever so friendly.

It is an old and true maxim that “a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, says what you will, is the great high road to his reason. – Lincoln

5. Get the other person saying “Yes, Yes” immediately.

  • In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – and keep emphasizing – the things on which you agree.
  • The skillful speaker gets, at the outset, a number of “Yes” responses. This sets the psychological process of the listeners moving in the affirmative direction.

He who treads softly goes far. – Chinese proverb

6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

  • Almost every successful person likes to reminiscent about his early struggles.

7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

  • Example: I want you to do me a little favor. Here are some uncompleted sketches. Won’t you please tell me how we could finish them up in such a way that you could use them?
  • Example: They are not perfect. We know that, and we want to improve them. So we should be deeply obligated to you if you could find time to look them over and give us your ideas about how they can be made more serviceable to your profession.

The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them.  Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams.  So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them.  Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury. –  Laozi

8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

  • … by becoming interested in the cause, we are less likely to dislike the effect.

Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by what you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your idea. – Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg, Getting Through to People

9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

10. Appeal to the nobler motives.

  • If you are satisfied with the result you are now getting, why change? If you are not satisfied, why not experiment?
  • … people are honest and want to discharge their obligations.

11. Dramatize your ideas.

  • Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship.

12. Throw down a challenge.

All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory. – Motto of the King’s Guard in ancient Greece

  • Every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression… The desire to excel.

Part Four: Be a leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

  • A barber lathers a man before he shaves him…

2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

  • Change the word from “but” to “and.”

3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

  • “You might consider this,” or “Do you think that would work?” “What do you think of this?”
  • [Always giving people the opportunity to do things themselves and let them learn from their mistakes] A technique like this saves a person’s pride and gives him or her a feeling of importance. It encourages cooperation instead of rebellion.
  • Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

5. Let the other person save face.

I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes.  What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself.  Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.  – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.  Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellows the warm sunshine of praise. – Jess Lair

  • … when criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention.
  • Because he had singled out a specific accomplishment, rather than just making general flattering remarks, his praise became much more meaningful to the person to whom it was given.
    • Specific praise comes across as sincere.
    • Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it.  But nobody wants insincerity.  Nobody wants flattery.
    • Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.

7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

Assume a virtue, if you have it not. – Shakespeare

  • If you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.
    • It might be well to assume and state openly that other people have the virtue that you want them to develop.
    • Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
    • Example: I have respected the fact that you are always willing to listen and are big enough to change your mind when the facts warrant a change.

8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

  • Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Keep the following guideline in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:

  1. Be sincere.  do not promise anything that you cannot deliver.  Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
  2. Know exactly what it is that you want the other person do.
  3. Be empathetic.  Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
  4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  5. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
  6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit. (e.g. If it is done now, we won’t be faced with it later.)

Agree not to Disagree

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Multimedia
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[An article was published in the booklet Bits and Pieces, which is published by The Economic Press in Fairfield, New Jersey. This article offers some sound advice on learning to “agree not to disagree”.]

Welcome the disagreement: Remember the slogan, ‘When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.’ If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this difference of opinion is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.

Distrust your first instinctive impression: Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.

Control your temper: Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.

Listen first: Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build barriers of misunderstanding.

Look for areas of agreement: When you have heard your opponent out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.

Be honest: Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.

Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully: And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: ‘We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.’

Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest: Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.

Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem: Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:

Could my opponents be right? Partly right?Is their truth or merit to their position or argument?Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration?Will my reactions drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me?Will my reaction elevate estimation good people have of me?Will I win or lose?What price will I have to pay if I win?If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over?Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, ‘Goodbye, Daddy!’ and I frowned, and said in reply, ‘Hold your shoulders back!’

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. ‘What is it you want?’ I snapped.You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: ‘He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!’

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

Posted: January 21, 2012 in Quotes
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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

– Leo Buscagila

A Cup of Zen

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Short Stories
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One day, a scholar went to see a Zen monk named Nanin to inquire about Zen. Nanin treated his guest to a cup of tea. He poured the tea into a cup, and when the cup was full, he kept right on pouring…

The scholar observed the overflowing tea bowl, until he could no longer contain himself.

“Master, that’s enough! It’s full!”

“You are just like this cup – full of your own thoughts and ideas,” said Nanin, “If you don’t first empty yourself, how can I teach you about Zen?”

Commentary

If your mind is filled with your own prejudices, the truth that others speak cannot be heard. When engaging in conversation, most people are in a hurry to express their own opinion, and as a result, they don’t hear anything but the sound of their own voice.

Posted: September 4, 2011 in Quotes
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If you can talk then you can sing, if you can walk then you can dance.
Words – Images – Numbers – Gestures – Sounds
It’s all about communicating!

Blocks to Listening

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Multimedia
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There are twelve blocks to listening. You will find that some are old favourites that you use over and over, while others are held in reserve for certain types of people or situations. Everyone uses listening blocks, so you shouldn’t worry if a lot of blocks seem familiar. Being aware of your blocks to listening is the first step towards becoming a more effective listener.

1. Comparing

Comparing makes it hard to listen because you are always trying to assess who is smarter, more competent, more emotionally healthy – you or the other. Some people focus on who has suffered more, who’s a bigger victim. While someone is talking, you think to yourself: “Could I do it that well? . . . I’ve had it harder, he doesn’t know what hard is . . . I earn more than that . . . My kids are so much brighter.” You can’t let much in because you’re too busy seeing if you measure up.

2. Mind Reading

The mind reader doesn’t pay much attention to what people say. In fact, she often distrusts it. She’s trying to figure out what the other person is really thinking and feeling. “She says she wants to go to the show, but I’ll bet she’s tired and wants to relax. She might be resentful if I pushed her when she doesn’t want to go”. The mind reader pays less attention to words than to intonations and subtle clues (real or imagined) in an effort to see through to the truth.

If you are a mind reader, you probably make assumptions about how people react to you. “I bet she’s looking at my lousy skin . . . he thinks I’m stupid . . . She’s turned off by my shyness”. These notions are born of intuition, hunches, and vague misgivings, but have little to do with what the person actually says to you.

3. Rehearsing

You don’t have time to listen when you’re rehearsing what to say. Your whole attention is on the preparation and crafting of your next comment. You have to look interested, but your mind is going a mile a minute because you’ve got a story to tell, or a point to make. Some people rehearse whole chains of responses: “I’ll say, then he’ll say, then I’ll say” and so on.

4. Filtering

When you filter, you listen to some things and not to others. You pay only enough attention to see if somebody’s angry, or unhappy, or if you’re in emotional danger. Once assured that the communication contains none of these things, you let your mind wander. One woman listens just enough to her son to learn whether he is fighting again at school. Relieved to hear he isn’t, she begins thinking about her shopping list. A young man quickly ascertains what kind of mood his partner is in. If he seems happy as he describes his day, the young man’s thoughts begin wandering.

Another way people filter is simply to avoid hearing certain things – particularly anything threatening, negative, critical, or unpleasant. It’s as if the words were never said: You simply have no memory of them.

5. Judging

Negative labels have enormous power. If you prejudge someone as stupid or nuts or unqualified, you don’t pay much attention to what they say. You’ve already written them off. Hastily judging a statement as immoral, hypocritical, fascist, lazy, or stupid means you’ve ceased to listen and have begun a “knee-jerk” reaction. A basic rule of listening is that judgements should only be made after you have heard and evaluated the content of the message.

6. Dreaming

You’re half-listening, and something the person says suddenly triggers a chain of private associations. Your neighbour says she’s been laid off, and in a flash you’re back to the scene where you got fired for playing hearts on those long coffee breaks. Hearts is a great game, there were the great nights of hearts years ago on Sutter Street. And you’re gone, only to return a few minutes later as your neighbour says, “I knew you’d understand, but don’t tell my husband”.

You are more prone to dreaming when you feel bored or anxious. Everybody dreams, and you sometimes need to make herculean efforts to stay tuned in. But if you dream a lot with certain people, it may indicate a lack of commitment to knowing or appreciating them. At the very least, it’s a statement that you don’t value what they have to say very much.

7. Identifying

In this block, you take everything a person tells you and refer it back to your own experience. They want to tell you about a toothache, but that reminds you of the time you had oral surgery for receding gums. You launch into your story before they can finish theirs. Everything you hear reminds you of something that you’ve felt, done, or suffered. You’re so busy with these exciting tales of your life that there’s no time to really hear or get to know the other person.

8. Advising

You are the great problem-solver, ready with help and suggestions. You don’t have to hear more than few sentences before you begin searching for the right advice. However, while you are cooking up suggestions and convincing someone to “just try it”, you may miss what’s most important. You didn’t hear the feelings, and you didn’t acknowledge the person’s pain. He or she still feels basically alone because you couldn’t listen and just be there.

9. Sparring

This block has you arguing and debating with people. The other person never feels heard because you’re so quick to disagree. You take strong stands, are very clear about your beliefs and preferences. The way to avoid sparring is to repeat back and acknowledge what you’ve heard. Look for one thing you might agree with. One subtype of sparring is the put-down. You use acerbic or sarcastic remarks to dismiss the other person’s view. For example, Helen starts telling Arthur about her problems in biology class. Arthur says: “When are you going to have the brains to drop that class?” Al is feeling overwhelmed with the noise from the TV. When he tells Rebecca, she says, “Oh god, not the TV routine again”. The put-down is the standard block to listening in many long term relationships. It quickly pushes the communication into stereotyped patterns where each person repeats a familiar hostile litany.

A second type of sparring is discounting. Discounting is for people who can’t stand compliments. “Oh, I didn’t do anything . . . What do you mean, I was totally lame . . .It’s nice of you to say, but it’s really a very poor attempt”. The basic technique of discounting is to run yourself down when you get a compliment. The other person never feels satisfied that you really heard her appreciation. And she’s right – you didn’t.

10. Being Right

Being right means you will go to any lengths (twist the facts, start shouting, make excuses or accusations, call up past sins) to avoid being wrong. You can’t listen to criticism, you can’t be corrected, and you can’t take suggestions to change. Your convictions are unshakable. And since you won’t acknowledge your mistakes, you just keep making them.

11. Derailing

This listening block is accomplished by suddenly changing the subject. You derail the train of conversation when you get bored or uncomfortable with a topic. Another way of derailing is by joking it off. This means that you continually respond to whatever is said with a joke or quip in order to avoid the discomfort or anxiety in seriously listening to the other person.

12. Placating

“Right . . . right . . . absolutely . . . I know . . . Of course you are . . . Incredible . . .yes . . . really?” You want to be nice, pleasant, and supportive. You want people to like you so you agree with everything. You may half-listen, just enough to get the drift, but you’re not really involved. You are placating rather than tuning in and examining what’s being said.

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Quotes
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Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.

– Mohandas Gandhi

  • The basic principle of Tantra is that the world is not divided into the lower and the higher, but that it is one piece.
    • The lower has to be allowed to move upward and in that way the lower becomes the higher.
    • The earth and the sky meet in Tantra; it is the meeting of polar opposites.
    • This is the ultimate for Tantra, to become gods and yet be part of this world.
  • Never condemn anything.
    • By condemning something, you deny yourself the possibilities that would have become available to you if you had encouraged the lower to evolve.
    • Don’t condemn the mud, because the lotus is hidden in the mud.
  • Sex is as sacred as Samadhi. The lowest and the highest are part of one continuum. The lowest rung is as much part of the ladder as the highest rung: they are nowhere divided. If you deny the lower you will never be able to reach the higher.
  • It is simply psychology that if you prohibit somebody from something, that something becomes more attractive, more magnetic.
    • If you say, “Don’t do this!” You can be sure it will be done.
  • Never feel guilty about anything! All that happens is good. The bad does not happen and cannot happen – the world is so full of godliness, how can the bad happen? The bad must be our interpretation.
  • There is no separation between divine love and human, four-lettered love. It is one continuity. You love and divine love are two ends of the same phenomenon, the same energy.
  • Accept yourself, because only through acceptance is transformation possible.
    • If you start feeling guilty, you will become repressive.
    • All is accepted, because all is divine.
  • The inner most core is nothingness, and the outermost circumference is a carnival. The innermost core is meditation, samadhi, and the outermost circumference is sexuality.
  • Tantra is the way of wholeness – neither obsession with the world, nor withdrawal from it. It is being in the world lightly, with a little smile. It is playfulness. It doesn’t take things seriously. It is light of heart, it laughs.
    • Tantra is playfulness. Yes, it is sincere – but not serious. It is joyous.
  • Life is a dance. You have to participate in it. The more silent you become, the deeper your participation.
    • When you have known how to remain still – dance – and the dance will give you the background in which the stillness will come loud and clear.
  • There is no reason for this world, but there is a rhyme and a rhythm.
  • There are only two basic paths: the path of devotion, prayer, and love, and the path of meditation and awareness.
    • Either you can approach reality through thinking or you can approach reality through feeling.
    • On Shiva’s path you no longer love the form, you no longer love the person – you start loving the whole existence.
    • If you can be alone and blissful, then choose Saraha; if you cannot be blissful when you are alone, if your bliss comes only when you relate, then choose Shiva.
  • This is one of the greatest renunciations – it is easy to renounce wealth, it is easy to renounce a great kingdom, but to renounce knowledge is the most difficult thing in the world…It is the greatest austerity there is, to become ignorant again, to become again innocent like a child.
  • To go into Tantra you need the cooperation of a wise woman; without a wise woman, you will not be able to enter the complex world of Tantra.
  • The less civilized, the more primitive, the more alive a person is.
    • The more you become civilized, the more you become plastic – you become artificial.
    • If you become too cultivated, you lose your roots in the earth.
  • To be in the middle means the pendulum just hangs there in the middle, moving neither to the right nor to the left. Then the clock stops. Then the world stops. Then there is no time; then the state of no-time arises.
  • Buddha says, To be worldly is to be worldly, and to be otherworldly is also to be worldly; to worship money is to be mad, to be against money is to be mad; to seek power is foolish, to escape from it is also foolish.
    • You have moved from the left to the right, but money is still at the center of your consciousness.
    • You can change from one desire to another, but you remain the same, the disease persists.
    • When things are natural, you are either for nor against. Both are obsessions.
  • To be total in action is to be free of action. Karma is created because you are not totally in your acts. If you are totally in an action, it leaves no trace.
    • Karma means incomplete actions.
    • Mind has a great temptation to complete things. Complete anything, and the mind is gone.
    • Mind is the accumulated past of all incomplete actions.
    • Do any action totally and you are free of it; you don’t look back because there is nothing to see.
    • …to be in life, to go on doing trivial things, but with such absorption that the profundity is revealed in every action.
  • Inference is just inference, it is not experience.
  • That is real knowledge – to know that which cannot be known, to realize that which unrealizable, to attain that which cannot be attained. This impossible passion is what makes a person a spiritual seeker.
    • By “impossible,” I don’t mean that it will not happen; I mean that it cannot happen unless you are utterly transformed. As you are, it cannot happen, but there are difference ways of being, and you can be totally new.
    • Only the destructible will be destroyed and the indestructible will be there. When you attain to that indestructible element in your being, to that eternal awareness in your being, you are a new consciousness. Through that consciousness the impossible is possible, the unattainable is attained.
  • Reproduction – the word is ugly (is the woman a factory?). Love is Fun! Make love when you are feeling happy, joyous, when you are at the top of the world. Share that energy…Make love out of joy, out of abundant joy. Give when you have it.

Though the house lamps have been lit, the blind live on in the dark. Though spontaneity is all-encompassing and close, To the deluded it remains always far away. – Saraha

  • The only way to get rid of the form is to know it so deeply that it has no attraction anymore.
  • Truth is one, only lies are many. Health is one; diseases are many. One health conquers all disease and one truth conquers all lies.
  • Remember, a mystic has no proof.
    • I am not here to convince you logically, I am here to convince you existentially.
  • You never happen; you are always there. Things happen in you, you never happen.
    • Things happen just like clouds happen in the sky. You are the silent watcher of the play of clouds.
  • When you watch a person’s behavior, you are focusing on the cloud. When you watch the innermost purity of the person’s being, you are watching the sky.
    • Actions are clouds, Doings are clouds. Being is like the sky.
  • Whatever you do will bring some good into the world and will bring some bad into the world – whatever you do. Because no action can be just white or just black. To be it has to be both.
    • In the overall reality, each act brings something good and something bad.
  • You can accumulate great knowledge or you can remain ignorant; that is only on the periphery. No knowledge can make you more knowing that you already are. Nothing can be added to you. Your purity is infinite; there is no way to improve upon it.
    • Its [the sea] perfection is such that you cannot take anything out of it and you cannot add anything to it.
    • Saraha says: you can give me all the honors that are possible, and nothing is added to me. Or you can take all the honors away and insult me. You can do whatever you want to destroy my respectability, but nothing is happening to me. No matter what, I remain the same. I am that which never increases and never decreases.
  • The mask has to be put aside. Hence, a love and a trust is needed – that you can be utterly nude, without any fear.
  • Tantra is not an intellectual proposition, it is an experience. Only when you are receptive, ready, and vulnerable to the experience, is it going to come to you.
  • It is like a seed – how can a seed rest and relax? Rest and relaxation is known only by flowers. The seed has to be deep in anguish; the seed has to continuously tremble. The trembling is because it does not know whether it will be able to become actual, whether it will find the right soil, whether it will find the right climate, whether it will find the right sky. Is it going to happen, or will it simply die without ever being born? The seed trembles inside. The seed has anxiety, anguish.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche has said man is a bridge. Exactly right! Man is not a place to rest, he is a bridge to pass over. Man is a door to go through. You cannot rest at being human.
    • Man is a tension.
  • Words are meaningless with reality. Silence is meaningful. Silence is pregnant; words are dead. You have to learn the language of silence.
  • How can you misunderstand somebody without thinking? Can you? Can you misunderstand me without thinking?
    • The moment you think, you are not looking at me; you are avoiding me. You are hiding behind your thought. Your thoughts come from your past. I am here, present.
  • For those few seconds of orgasm when you are out of the mind, you can relate.
    • When orgasm comes, there is no union – there is unity. The duality is lost.
  • It is only husbands and wives who talk. Lovers fall silent.
    • In fact, the husband and wife cannot keep silent because language is a way to avoid each other. If you are not avoiding the other, if you are not talking, the presence of the other becomes embarrassing.
  • Only a deep sensitivity can understand anything; only a deep feeling, a deep moving into it, can understand anything.
    • You can understand sex only if you move in it as a poet moves amidst flowers – only then! If you feel guilty about flowers, you may pass through the garden, but you will pass with closed eyes.
  • Tantra says there is duality; it is only an appearance.
  • If you fight, you are bound to create an ego. And the more you fight, the more strengthened the ego will be. If you win your fight, then you will achieve the supreme ego.
  • Remember, it is ultimately your mind that makes anything attractive or unattractive. You are the deciding factor.
  • Sex carries something of the ultimate in it, something of samadhi, of transcendence.
  • …when you die, then you know who you are…Die to the mind and you will know who you are. Death is the way to know.
  • Emotions have to be relieved, relaxed. When you feel like crying you must cry; when you feel like laughing you must laugh. You must drop this nonsense of repression, you have to learn expression, because only through your sentiments, your emotions, and your sensitivity, do you come to that vibration through which communication is possible.
  • The heart is in the middle – three centers below it, three center above it. The heart is the door from the lower to the higher, or from the higher to the lower.
  • Love is not just sentimental. Love has more depth than sentiment; love has more validity than sentiment. Sentiments are momentary.
    • Liking is not love. Never misunderstand liking for love, otherwise your whole life you will be only driftwood…you will be drifting from one person to another and intimacy will never grow.
  • Tantra say: Only speak when you have come to the fifth center via the fourth – only speak through love; otherwise, don’t speak. Speak through compassion; otherwise, don’t speak!
    • …then your words have a fragrance, a music to them, a dance. Then whatever you say is poetry, whatever you utter is sheer joy.
  • If you avoid the fourth chakra, then you go into the head. To be in the head means not to be in love; to be in thoughts means not to be in trust; to be thinking means not to be looking.
  • Tantra is transcendence. It is neither indulgence nor repression. It is walking on a tightrope in one of the greatest balances. It is not as easy as it appears – it needs delicate awareness. It is a great harmony.
  • Tantra says: The other has not to be the focus, neither this way nor that way.
  • Tantra is scientific. The word science means understanding. The word science means knowing. Tantric says: knowing liberates.
  • There are two types of people who act out of that ignorance [avoidance]: one who indulges madly and one who becomes tired and escapes.
    • That’s what the person who indulges goes on doing: he creates great energy and then throws it out for no purpose, with no significance. Having it, he suffers the tension of it. Throwing it out, he suffers the weakness of it. He simply suffers.
  • Tantra says: Beware. Beware of indulgence and beware of renunciation. Beware of both. Both are traps. Either way, you are trapped in the mind.
    • Tantra says: Awareness is the way.
    • Don’t go to the Himalayas, bring about a Himalayan silence within you. Don’t escape, become more awake. Look into things deeply with no fear…without fear, look into things deeply.
  • It is awareness that brings change, not your effort. Why does it happen through awareness? Because the awareness changes you, and when you are different the whole world is different. It is not a question of creating a different world, it is only a question of creating a different you.
    • Awareness is the key, the master key that opens all the doors of life.
  • The Four Mudras
    • First, be total in your action and the first seal is broken. Second, be honest in your knowing and the second seal is broken. Now, be just here and now and the third seal is broken.
  • Joy and pleasure are the buds, grace and gratitude and glory are the leaves, and this ultimate flowering of bliss is the fulfillment, the fruition. You have come home.
  • The unknown cannot be thought – there is no way to think about the unknown. All that you think is the know that goes on repeating in your mind. Yes, you can create new combinations of old thoughts, but just by making new combinations, you are not going got discover the real. You will be deceiving yourself.
    • Through intellect you create such a dust around yourselves that you cannot see the reality at all, and you are cut off from the existential.
  • Philosophy is cheap. It does not require any involvement; it is not a commitment. You can sit in your chair and think. It is a dream. It does not require you to change in order to see reality. That’s where courage is needed; adventurous courage is needed.
  • The journey is unknown, so unknown that you cannot even plan it. You have to take a jump into it. Blindfolded, you have to jump into it, in the dark night, with no map, not knowing where you are going, not knowing what you are going for. Only a few daredevils enter into this existential quest.
  • Sex has not disappeared – the moralist have only poisoned it more and more. It is still there in a poisoned form. Yes, guilt has arisen in human beings, but sex has not disappeared. It cannot disappear because it is a biological reality. It is existential; it cannot simply be made to disappear by repressing it…the energy is released not by repressing but by understanding.
  • Tantra says: Whatever exists has to be understood, and through understanding, changes occur of their own accord.
  • Sex energy is life energy; it is uncontrollable.
  • Tantra means expansion…When you become universal, you come home. When you become all, when you become one with all, when you are as huge as this universe, when you contain all…
  • Tantra says: Drop character, be fluid, be flowing, live moment-to-moment.
    • It does not mean irresponsibility. It means greater responsibility because it means greater awareness.
    • A characterless person does not follow any rules – he follows his awareness. He doesn’t have any discipline – he has only his consciousness.
  • Spontaneity means you don’t interfere, you are in a let-go. Whatever happens, you watch, you are a witness to it.
  • Those who are too analytical, interpretative, continuously thinking in categories of the mind, are always divided. They are split. There is always a problem for them. The problem is not in existence; that problem comes from their own divided minds. That person’s own mind is not a single unity.
  • An ugly woman can give you as beautiful an orgasm as a beautiful woman, but why don’t you like the ugly woman? She does not appeal to your brain, that’s all. Otherwise, as far as orgasm is concerned, both are equally capable. The ugliest woman or the most beautiful woman is, immaterial – your head, your brain, is more interested in form, in the beauty.
  • The more you think logically, the bigger is the gap between the two hemispheres of the brain. The less you think logically, the closer they come. The more poetic, the more esthetic your approach is, the more they will come close and the more possibility of joy, delight, and celebration there will be.
    • That’s why an interpretative mind is never a happy mind.
  • Tantra trusts in your body. No other religion trusts in your body. And when religions don’t trust in your body, they create a split between you and your body. They make you an enemy of your body and they start destroying the wisdom of the body.
    • Tantra teaches you to look at the body as the greatest creation of existence. Tantra is the religion of the body. Of course it goes higher, but it never leaves the body; it is grounded there…It is grounded in the earth: it has roots.
  • Tantra says: First purify the body – purify it of all repressions. Allow the body energy to flow, remove the blocks.
  • Do you ever come across a bird that is ugly? Do you ever come across a deer that is ugly? It never happens…They simply accept themselves and they are beautiful in their acceptance. In that very acceptance they shower beauty upon themselves.
    • The moment you accept yourself you become beautiful.
  • Tantra can be understood only when your body is alive and your senses feel.
    • Free your senses from habits.
  • Find new ways in everything. Let that be one of your disciplines. Tantra says: If you can continue finding new ways every day, your life will remain a thrill, an adventure…You will always be curious to know, you will always be on the verge of seeking the unknown and the unfamiliar. Your eyes will remain clear and your senses will remain clear, because when you are always on the verge of seeking, exploring, finding, searching, you cannot become dull…
  • Bring individuality to things. To imitate is to miss life. To be imitative is to be neurotic. The only way to be sane in the world is to be individual, authentically individual. Be your own being.