“The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choicest words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech.”
― Edwin H. Friedman
This quote came from the opening of this week’s podcast
from Maxwell Igan
If there is one podcast I look forward to each week, it is Max’s. Max is probably the closest, most modern Western version we have these days of a real Elder or what people in India would call a “Baba” – a male Elder with quite a level of insight and wisdom which he expresses quite eloquently and also practices what he preaches. Not that he would want the distinction, he’s way too grounded and cool to ever let any of it go to his head. (If only he was a yoga teacher as well – I know that’s wishful thinking on my part but that would be the equivalent of Frank Zappa
instructing yoga which would totally rock IMHO!)
Max Igan, Aussie Baba
It’s not just politics which Max covers in his weekly hour-long stream of consciousness podcasts
– there’s genuine, insightful wisdom touching on topics as varied as how to be a better custodian of Mother Nature to how we can be better citizens to ourselves and each other. If you have an hour to spare at home while you’re fixing your car or watering your plants, it totally worth your while to have his podcasts playing in the background instead of the usual drivel you get on mainstream radio these days or listening to motivational tapes from the likes of Wayne Dyer
or Tony Robbins
– all nice and fluffy sounding but with very little substance or “meat”.
I bring Max up because his opening quote in his last podcast hit a bit close to home for me. I’ve recently started a Meetup discussion group
to bring many of this topics which I blog about into the real world and have moderated a few meetings already. By and large, the folks have been very nice, all different backgrounds but it has really brought it to the forefront the fact that there are many, many, many solo spiritual seekers and people whose eyes have been opened to what a scam the whole system has become, who have had genuine spiritual experiences, who are sick and tired of the New Age and/or organized religion bullshit, all operating and working alone in their own way, in their own time, without wanting to join any movement or follow one particular teacher but yet also want to discuss their experiences either to share or for personal verification with others
who may have had similar experiences or insights. It’s always comforting to hear that you’re not alone.
Someone on their soapbox, pontificating to the world
One thing I have always noticed as I have written elsewhere
, is that invariably there is always one person who shows up to monopolize the conversation because they like the sound of their own voice and try using the group as a platform for their own interests. This happened during the last meeting and I basically had to bite my tongue from pointing out what they were doing without being rude. But then I realized something – this person really didn’t “see” what they were doing and even if I did mention something, they still wouldn’t get it and would probably take it very personally.
Lines getting seriously crossed.
Increasingly however, this sort of thing happens all the time. Lines getting crossed, people not listening properly
, people not “hearing” each other properly, explaining something to someone who will never understand what you’re trying to say because they are not and never will be on the same frequency as you and also don’t want to hear what you might have to say, which then causes all sorts of problems further down the line.
One of my buddies is a researcher and activist who focuses on human trafficking
in the sex industry. She pointed it out to me and until she said it, I never really “got it” that women primarily can feel close to a man via emotional bonding, while men primarily can feel close to a woman via sex…and the emotional bonding part may or may not come later. Not always of course, I’m seriously generalizing. Don’t get me wrong – this is a bit more complicated than “Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus”
– but it does go a long, long way in helping some men understand that unless a woman feels safe with him and trusts him to some degree first, he probably won’t get sex that easily despite what glamorous TV shows and porn would otherwise indicate. Likewise, a guy may not open up to a woman completely and let her understand him unless the relationship has become physical and pheromones
have been shared. So in the case of emotionally and spiritually immature relationships, instead of explicitly telling each other what they really need and want, everyone just manipulates each other or plays mind/power games
in the hopes of getting what they want. Fun, huh?
Part of this shift that’s happening is that people are waking up, people are looking for ways to share, people are all hoping for a better world, but before that happens at the global level, it has to be local first. Before it is local, it has to be personal. Fundamentally, we all have to start becoming better communicators and listeners with ourselves and with those around us. Not easy but it is a crucial step we all have to take.