I had a huge personal shift when my friend in Spain said there was no word in Spanish to convey what I mean in English by “shift.” Isn’t that interesting!
Shift in consciousness? Shift in awareness? There’s no word for “shift” in Spanish. Does that mean I can’t convey its meaning? No, but it will take more words, and they, too have meanings.
We interpret words individually
If I say the word “dog”, we’re each going to have a different image – big, little, assertive, timid, friendly. You get the picture. So how do we tell our truth to others? Let’s think about that.
Understand the power of the words you choose
What seems a natural expression for us may have different meaning for others. The most prevalent example for me is the word “God.” To me it suggests a male, an older person, a father figure…some of us would prefer to think of God as a woman.
The word limits us because it’s too close to the limitations of our humanness. And whatever “God” is, it’s much, much bigger than that.
So we look around for other words. I like “Tao” because I have nothing associated with that. All-that-is, Nothingness, Universal Mind. Those are closer, but are still tangible. We’re looking for a word to mean what Rumi called “the nowhere that you came from.”
How do we convey our meaning?
Learn to speak in the language of the other person. You won’t use the same vocabulary with a baby as you will with a 5-year-old, or a teenager or an adult. They each have different frames of reference. It would help our communication if we learned to be aware of the frame of reference of the other person when we speak.
Recently, I was playing cards with some senior friends, and in answer to a query I was trying to explain what I did. They will not identify with “spiritual philosopher.” They may not have an aware experience of “personal growth” let alone “self-awareness” “spiritual expansion” and “impactful service.” So I needed to find simpler words.
I think my answer was that I was having a fabulous time doing it and was experiencing my own personal growth. After some thought, the next time we met, I was able to explain what I do as, “I write about life.”
What are the simplest words you can use to explain what you do?
We have to learn to write for and speak to people in words they can understand. Lack of experience in the area of which we are speaking is a very interesting barrier to communication.
For instance, I can’t in any way identify with the “burn” of a muscle since I’ve never pushed myself that far.
How have you misinterpreted the meaning of a word?
That brings us to ourselves. I wonder who I have misunderstood simply because of the words that were used that I couldn’t identify with.
I prefer to learn to read the energy behind the words. And we need to learn to listen to what is not being said.
I was on the executive committee of our Residents’ Association and we had begun to hold our meetings in the commons room rather than the library with the door shut. It felt like it was more transparent.
The vice-president was in charge of a particular meeting and she asked us to set up in the library. I started thinking all sorts of thoughts about being secretive until she said “I can’t hear very well in here.” Boy, do we make things hard on ourselves by jumping to conclusions.
Learn to read the energy
Years ago, I visited a friend who was a practicing Buddhist. She had a small box mounted on her wall with two doors that opened. She spent time before it in meditation and chanting. I asked if I could look inside.
When I opened the two small doors, a flood of loving energy came pouring out, surrounding, encompassing, and embracing me. Inside was a scroll with words I could not read. But I could “read” the energy.
Get your antenna out
When you’re with someone, move inside yourself and start reading the energy you’re receiving – energy that underlies their words, energy from their emotions. Construct your responses based on that energy rather than the words you hear. There may be worry, or fear, there may be joy or excitement.
We express much more through our personal energy than through our words.
Learn to speak the language of one-ness
We’re all one energy. We’re not separate from anyone – the ones we like and the ones we’re not particularly drawn to. That doesn’t mean you have to hang out with energy that no longer nourishes and supports you.
However, it’ll help if you begin to notice how you feel when you talk to someone and use this as a barometer of the success of the communication.
Words limit us. But our feelings and intuition, on the other hand, build a bridge.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
Engage in the Power of trust
How to Deepen Your Calling
Is Everything You Know Still True
21 – How to Share a Piece of Your Soul 15
28 – How to Walk Beside Someone in Service
23 – What Are the Truths You Live By?