It seems fitting to start a blog with a post on effective communication. I just finished Thich Nhat Hanh's book, The Art of Communicating, and I can already tell it's a title I'll return to over and over. Thich Nhat Hanh takes a holistic approach to communication, identifying possible areas of trouble, reasons for that trouble, and solutions for dealing with both present and future miscommunications.
It's one of the most practical books I've read in ages, and even the parts that would be tough for someone in an open-plan office to do (mindful breathing before picking up the phone, enlisting the help of a bell every 15 minutes to help bring you back into the present) left me wondering what could be done instead, rather than being discouraged.
The real takeaway for me was the idea that we are always communicating, with others and our selves, through our thoughts, words and actions, and that mindful, loving communication is a key to improving our relationships. Ineffective communication often stems from not understanding another's suffering, usually via not listening. This resonates deeply with me; I know I have a tendency to think of my response while I'm listening to someone else, and I've resolved to make more time for deep listening.
I've also resolved to make more space for loving speech in my life. I wasn't sure if I would blog on this site, but I like the idea of using this space as a way to honestly share, and to work through, thoughts and ideas and habits as they arise through my yoga and tarot practices.
So, my intention for this space is to share the two keys of communication, deep listening and loving speech: ‘There is a saying in Vietnamese, ‘It doesn’t cost anything to have loving speech.’ We only need to choose our words carefully, and we can make other people happy. To use words mindfully, with loving kindness, is to practice generosity. We can make many people happy just by practicing loving speech.’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
A lotus for you,
A buddha to be.