What is talking? Of course the obvious answer is communicating. But that’s only one answer. I remember distinctly, a moment in my twenties when I read something like, People talk to hear themselves talk. I was appalled, what a disrespectful thing to say; it’s taken me many years to know the Truth of this, and many more to come to fully live it. Communication, to me, implies a mutuality, reciprocal giving and receiving. When I am the only one talking (as in this post!), there is no reciprocity.
When we are teaching and learning, our capacity to sort out the way in which content is grasped necessitates two-way LEARNING. Thus we are all learners. What I have seen, in myself, and others, is that while we present as though we are listening, it takes an openness of spirit, or heart, to really hear. This is a rare capacity. Ask yourself, how often have you felt truly heard, or seen?
I think it may have been Gloria Steinem that said, “The personal IS the political” and that would be my experience too.** One-way communication is just that- one way, my views, perhaps a “fact” or two thrown in, and if that is all there is time for, regardless of any other intention, I have decided, my view is the only one that is important, valuable. Yet, all this said, there are many other questions to be explored. When a person listens well-enough to appear interested, yet is not truly open to hearing, what is behind that? When I talk, without intention to be changed, what is behind that? What questions or thoughts occur to you? *If you haven’t seen the film, Avatar, you might consider going, it does an excellent job of depicting this concept. http://www.avatarmovie.com/ **For a debate on who actually coined this phrase: http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/pisp.html
Joan Dempsey is the author of this post on talking.