Recently during a call, I told a senior colleague “ you are not required for that meeting”. He said “ok”. We kept the phone down and went by addressing other affairs. And then I realised, it’s so easy to work with this person. I said what I said, he received and responded without adding any meaning or ‘masala’. It’s just so liberating when one has the confidence that whatever is said will be received just as it is. It allows me to be fully self-expressed without worrying about being misunderstood, judged or pushed back.
Have you experienced those spaces where transparency, vulnerability, honesty, self-expression flow naturally? I get goosebumps thinking of the connections, authenticity, love that becomes available when I am self-expressed and, more importantly, I create a space where others are free to express themselves.
But that’s easier said than done. Most often we listen from our own filters. In a similar situation, a few years back, when my boss had said exactly the same words “ you are not required in this meeting” I heard “ You are not important. You are not valued”. And that started a whole lot of drama of withholding communication, withdrawing from a discussion, refusing to contribute and of course snide remarks. This wasn’t a one-off incidence, this is how I use to listen, from my filters, distorting messages and responding to those distorted messages. The impact? Well for me, frequent experiences of hurt anxiety, separateness, not being understood. While others around me had to measure their words, or found it safer to simply clam up. Creating more experience of hurt, anxiety and separateness for me.
That was me, years back. Till I got into the journey of Ontology. Here I got that human beings are wired to listen from their default filters. These come from our view of self and the world, our deep-set beliefs, our life experiences. So we hear and respond to things that were never said or never happened!!. He humiliated me, she was rude, dad doesn’t love me, the boss has his own favourites, I am no longer wanted by my children, my son is irresponsible… none of it really happened. Look at the ‘masala’ you add even to a delayed response to wats app, or a call not returned. And once you remove all the masala what will remain is NOTHING other than what actually happened or what was said. And in that nothingness many ways of responding and connection becomes possible, being fully present to the other becomes possible, clarifying, pausing, become possible. In short, Listening becomes possible.
I am on this journey to notice my filters, my masala, in the moment and dropping them to get the said and even the unsaid. And whenever I am successful in doing so, magic happens. I can connect to fear beneath ‘angry voice’, anxiety beneath the laughter, conflicts disappear, projects move, connection reaches many notches up. Yet as I said it’s a continuous journey to ‘Listen Nothing before you can listen the real thing’.