The challenge of our time is defenseless speaking and defenseless listening.
I know that that is my challenge.
To speak defenselessly, I move beyond and deeper than my judgments about you. I give up the sophomoric game of “you make me feel”. I start with “I feel” and then I talk about that. Deeply. Vulnerably. All the way down to the bottom of my core.
The most noxious element of our celebrity worshiping culture is as a barbiturate against looking deeply within ourselves. Very exciting to talk about what Robin Williams did or didn’t do. But 48 hours later we are left naked and raw by the fact that we can no longer distract ourselves from ourselves with him anymore. Either we are left naked and alone staring deeply into our own selves or else we move on to the next hit of the next numbing distraction.
As far as listening defenselessly, the reptilian mind is always only asking two questions: 1) what does this mean about me and 2) what should I do about it? This is what is known as normal listening. You don’t turn it off. That’s just what “it” does.
Defenseless listening would have to involve a deep awareness of my own triggers and needs. I can only get myself out of the way if I am rigorously being aware of my “thinking” and who/what I am listening to when I am “listening” to you. I don’t pretend to be enlightened. If I am actually listening to you then it would be because I am simultaneously shining a light on everything that is coming up for me, about me, as I attempt to listen to you.
By the way, you don’t “make me feel” anything. I try to remember that one often.
The only way that I can defenselessly listen to you is if I can listen to my own listening.
The only way that I can defenselessly speak to you is if I can listen to your listening and speak into that.