Wednesday, April 10, 2013

you can't hide...

Verse 2.54: Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?

Being any type of teacher, leader, coach or parent is a big deal. What to speak of these specific roles, just being a regular person comes with a lot of responsibility. What's that, you may ask? The fact that whether you realize it or not, people are watching and noting how you behave.

I'm not talking about watching in the "big brother" kind of way, but more along the lines of observing if you are walking your talk. We all stand for something and so it's natural that others will knowingly or even unknowingly look to see if you are behaving in ways that fit the values and standards that you propound.

We were discussing the important topic of self-discovery on the soul level yesterday. However, it's also important to take that spirit of discovery to find out how others perceive us. Now, this can be challenging, since we might hear things that we don't agree with or those that even hurt our feelings. That's why it's so important to choose the right persons, if we do decide to get someone's opinion. Those persons who we not only put our faith and trust in, but who genuinely wish well for us and want to help us. That way, even if we hear of things we can improve on, we always know in our hearts that their observations are not coming from a place of judgement but from a place of care.

As mentioned before, although we may have high ideals and goals, most of us fall in the "work in progress" category. There are two areas that give us away with respect to where our mind and heart are at. Those are: 1) speech, 2) non-verbal communication.

With respect to speech, this can be divided into tone and language. Our emotions, which can be set off by the slightest things, have a huge impact on our tone. In fact, it's very easy to have no clue of how our tone is being perceived when we are speaking. For some of us, we are more focused on speaking than on ensuring that our message is being communicated in a way that the other person understands what we're trying to say. Language also has a great effect. In fact, one of the greatest things realizations I've come to is the fact that we get to choose the words we use. Think about that for a second. We can choose the words we use. That means we can come up with different ways to communicate the same message. If we realize this, instead of speaking or writing the first words that come to mind, instead we can find the appropriate words for the time, place and circumstance. This is extremely important especially when we do not have the facility to communicate face to face.

In face to face communication, realizing the importance of non-verbal communication is crucial. Estimates are given that close to 94% of our communication is non-verbal. We give away a lot more than we think! Whether it's a dismissive eye role (alright, I admit that I'm guilty of doing that!), pointing, closed body language or nodding in agreement, we are always trying to get a read on what the other person is not saying. Think of the last conversation you had with someone. Did you intuitively feel that they were trying to cut it short or that they were really eager to listen to you? Did you find that their body language was at odds with the words coming from their mouth? If so, what did you put more stock in? I can only speak for myself, but if I ever find myself in that situation, I tend to put more faith in the non-verbal cues I'm receiving.

It's amazing how we try to decode one another, isn't it? In closing, I invite you to take on a challenge. Go to someone who is a real well wisher that also knows you well in terms of what you stand for/want to stand for and courageously ask them, "My dear friend, could you please do me a favour? I am curious to see if my thoughts and behaviors are accurately representing the goals and ideals I aspire to. Can you please tell me what you think and provide some examples?" Otherwise, you may never know if you're practically living the ideals and values you stand for.

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