Ever long to have more meaningful conversations, and be more connected to people? Then you should know about “mindless and mindful communication”! Being mindful in our conversations can change forever the relationship you have with yourself and with others.
Probably like me, you’ve seen, throughout your life, examples of mindless communication. Mindless communication simply means the absence of connection and awareness when you communicate. In other words, you speak to others in an automatic pilot. As an example, you continue to watch television while listening to others. Or your children are talking to you, and your mind is on other things.
What’s more, mindless communication can be even in harmful forms. For example, when communication leads to misunderstanding and suffering. Real-life examples: Your parents disputing. Neighbors arguing. You even see sometimes so much violence in the way people communicate.
Unlike mindless communication, mindful communication is a practice where you are truly present. This presence is not only demonstrated by the fact that you listen, and react fully to your conversation partner. But also, it is deeply grounded in genuine interest, love, and compassion towards the person with whom you are communicating.
Why mindful communication is so important
You doubt it! Communication is one of the important aspects of our relations with others. If you ever left with an unfulfilled conversation and felt bad, you know it! Good communication is a way to connect, to understand, to learn, and to develop ourselves. Therefore, being aware of mindless and mindful communication is a way to be in harmony with others.
Mindfulness is a practice of cultivating the presence in the present moment, in whatever we do. But not only. To be truly in the present moment, this way of living encompasses a deep vision of the world.
Therefore, mindfulness can help a great deal improving your communication, and eventually, your connection with yourself and others. Indeed, if we can communicate with nature, and with people in a mindful way, we have a lot to gain.
However, there is a big mistake most people have when they practice mindful communication. And I’ll tell it you right now.
Mindful communication does not necessarily start the moment you speak to others. To be truly mindful of your communication, there is a profound practice. You can cultivate your current moment awareness (which is not overnight!). Go with the present moments, inner-peace, and true love and compassion towards yourself and others.
Only when your communication is an expression of your loving energy, does it become truly mindful, and can create a real connection with others.
Sounds good. Everyone likes that. But how to be mindful of our communication? Learn 10 practices that can change your conversations forever.
Mindless and mindful communication – 10 mindful practices
1) Cultivate your inner-peace
Do you remember a moment when you are not happy with your neighbor or your colleague? You were probably caught up in judgment, and unpleasant feelings. The conversations and communications became difficult. Your judgments and your negative emotions are like dust. They cover the mirror which is your natural love and compassion to them.
Therefore, it is always a challenge to mindfully communicate with others, when within ourselves, we do not have peace. When we are full of anger and bitterness, we may not look beyond our own suffering. How can we then mindfully listen to and understand others?
That is why the first thing to do is to cultivate our inner peace. Only then can we be truly present and mindful in our communication.
When we have peace within ourselves, we can bring peace to others. “Peace in oneself, peace in the world” (Thich Nhat Hanh). Others who benefit from our mental stillness will feel it the moment they communicate with us. And believe me, this influence is profound.
2) Grow true love and compassion towards the person you are communicating with
What is the objective of your communication? You may say: “To show your opinion, to prove that you are right, to educate others, or to learn?” But tell me if I’m wrong. Among the most profound desires when we communicate, comes the wish to have a real connection with others.
Remember many communication courses? People teach you to pay attention to your gesture, your body language, your eye contacts… I agree that all of these are important. But they are just the external appearance of one and only thing. And I’ll tell you what immediately.
Here it is: A true connection can only come from heart to heart. Believe me, this is to whoever you are speaking with, in whatever circumstance. Filled with true love and compassion towards the persons with whom you are communicating? I’m sure you will create a strong connection with them.
But how to do this? Let’s start with one of the most important aspects of connection: Understanding. “How can you love if you don’t understand?” (Thich Nhat Hanh). The only fact that you understand someone, relieves his or her suffering. And you pave the way to their heart, with your communication.
And that’s all mindless and mindful communication are about. Mindful communication offers a true understanding of the suffering of another person. Mindful to yourself, you can transform your own suffering, and help transform the suffering of another person. Therefore, grow your true love and compassion, is the first step to mindful communication.
3) Enable the focus of your communication from “you” to “them”
If you ever want to create a connection through your communication, here is the “one” key practice: Shift the focus of your communication from “you” to “them”.
In a conversation, we can sometimes feel a lack of confidence in ourselves. You think your language is not good enough, your gesture is not appropriate, or even your facial muscles are wrong… All of these, because our focus is on “ourselves”.
If you shift the focus on “others”, all of these fear and lack of confidence disappear. Because, in your mind, the only thought that counts is: How can I help? What can I bring as values through this conversation?
And suddenly, you are mindful and curious about what they have to say. You are mindful, naturally, in your conversations, because you care about them. The centre of the conversation is not you, but them. Well, yes, you got it! That’s the untold secret of any meaningful communication.
4) Cultivate the silence is among the best ways to communicate
It does sound strange. What has “silence” to do with my “mindless or mindful communication”? But it does.
Cultivating the silence within yourself is the best way to be peaceful, loving, and compassionate. And those are the basis of mindful and connecting communication, as we have seen above.
Take time each day to walk mindfully, to eat in silence, to listen to nature, and to meditate. Allow yourself the time to be in silence daily. As with it, you can cultivate a connection with your higher self. This “self” is free from fear and anxiety. Communicating from the place of freedom, our conversation is mindful and connective.https://mind-flower.org/2019/12/06/noble-silence-the-silence-that-heals/embed/#?secret=y97UtSQO0S
5) The calm and peace are contagious in conversations
Thich Nhat Hanh, once, cited the example of a boat in the ocean. Imagine a boat with many people on board, crossing the ocean, and taken in a storm. If some start to act in panic, they can put everybody in danger. But if the consciousness of one calm person can inspire others to stay calm, the boat can be saved.
Similarly, in your communication, in difficult moments, you can remain calm, and inspire others to do the same. That’s the art of mindful communication. The quality of our “being” is the foundation of mindful and loving communication. And that can influence the way others react to us.
Today, practice breathing in and breathing out mindfully in any circumstance. Instead of fighting, or arguing, or struggling, we just get into the stillness of our mind. That is the miraculous way of transforming the difficult reality you are facing.
6) Offer joy and understanding when you communicate
“If all around is darkness, perhaps you are the light” (Rumi). You can be the sun of another person. But you can’t offer happiness to someone if you don’t have it yourself. Build your inner home by accepting yourself and learn to love yourself. This will generate the instants of joy and happiness that nourish you. You’ll have then what to offer to others.
And all this will shine, during your conversations, whatever communication you have. When you can generate joy within yourself, it nourishes you and the other person. Your presence and mindful communication is a gift, like fresh air, spring flowers, or blue sky.
7) Learn to communicate like a tree
Communication with nature is a great way to learn how to communicate mindfully.
In front of my place, there are big centenary trees. I love them. Every day, I come to lie down under my trees or watch them when I walk through them. Being attentive, I can communicate with them. And what do I learn from them? I know they don’t take offense, or take it personally when I am absent, or if I am not in a good mood. They just are, with their ever-loving energy. They are always there for me when I am sad, or joyful.
Can we communicate like a tree? Yes, we can. We can learn to be a tree. Grounded, calm, and present. We can be a good harbor for other persons when they speak to us. People can count on us, and tell us what is on their heart, whenever it is difficult for them. Practice today being like trees. They show the best example of mindful communication with others.
8) Respect and trust gained from being mindful
Respect and trust are the foundation of any mindful communication.
Being mindful, we learn to respect and trust, firstly, ourselves. We have reasons to have confidence in our loving-kindness nature. Breathe in and out mindfully, we feel the oxygen coming from the trees around us, into each of our cells. Is there any separation between us and the trees? No, there isn’t. Breathe in and out, we are aware of our connection with all that exists, with the Earth, and with nature. We are part of the universe. We are made of stars.
Similarly, when we look at the others, we know that they are too, made of stars. They have eternity in them. When we see others like this, we have a natural reverence and respect. This is the basis of mindful and loving communication.
9) Be yourself, be beautiful in any communication
Most of our communication mistakes come from the fact that we are fearful of expressing who we truly are.
There are so many examples where we are not able to be ourselves in communication. Ever loved someone but never had the courage to tell, because you were afraid of being embarrassed or rejected? Your boss asked you to do a project and couldn’t say no because you were scared of being seen as “lazy”? Or simply didn’t say what you truly think, for fear of judgment?
I remember a science-fiction book of the legendary author Liu Cixin. When an extra-terrestrial civilization came to Earth, the first thing they learned, was to .. tell lies! Because, in their civilization, their thoughts were transparent. And it was a new thing, to learn, that on Earth, humans did not always speak out what they really thought.
It’s a funny illustration. But the essence is there. We, humans, can be more truthful in our speech, can’t we?
But how to cultivate trustworthy communication that truly connects? The secret is, be ourselves.
Mindful practices bring you an opportunity to connect with your true essence. You have a chance to understand that your body is a wonder of the cosmos, made of the run, the rain, innumerable plants, and living beings. Accept yourself, your body, the way you are. Then you can have the chance to see you as the real home, firstly of yourself, then for others.
This way, you become beautiful, and it is the same for your communication with others.
10) Come back to your breathing to handle difficult emotions in conversations
In any communication, come back to your breath is the best way to stay grounded, relaxed, and truthful. Before answering your boss’s call, take a deep breath! To find calm when replying to an important question, take a deep breath.
Mindfulness makes it possible to recognize what we are about to say before we say it, and thus offers us the freedom to choose when to speak, what to say, and how to say it.Tenzin Mutang
When we focus on our breaths, we can mindfully observe our feelings. Our emotions are like a river. Some waterdrops are “pleasant” emotions. Some are “non-pleasant”. Whereas some are “neutrals”. During a communication, stay mindful of the emotions that come up. Can you observe the reactions of yourself and of others, and not identify yourself with them? It’s a way to remain calm, and understanding, of ourselves, and of others, during the conversation.
Also, breathing can be definitely a great way to keep calm in a difficult and strong emotional conversation. Remember one of your worst discussions? When you were caught by anger and reacted hastily, you regretted a great deal afterward.
“The emotions manifest, stay on the surface for some time, and will leave. Why dying because of only one emotion? After some minutes of practice, the storm will calm down. And you can see with how much ease you have survived the storm” (Thich Nhat Hanh)
By focusing on our breaths, we can learn to take care of our painful sensations and strong emotions that emerge from the depth of our consciousness. We can recognize that they are there. Breathing in, I know it’s an emotion. Breathing out, I am not only my emotions.
The realization that we more than our emotions is a fundamental and profound vision. Practice daily before the storm comes, so that in a difficult moment, you’ll not be taken away by your anger and frustration.
Being mindful in our conversations can change forever the relationship you have with yourself and with others
The biggest mistake is to think that mindful communication only starts the moment you speak to others.
In reality, to be truly mindful of your communication, there is a profound practice. You can cultivate your current moment awareness, inner-peace, and true love and compassion towards yourself and others. Only when your communication is an expression of your loving energy does it become truly mindful. It can then create a real connection with others.
Start today my 10 mindful practices, to change your conversations, and the relationship with others, forever!