Withholds and Beyond
Part 2 –
In the last entry I wrote about intention as the nub of what’s really going on with us – that we are never without an intention.
We can have multiple intentions, which can be in conflict with each other.
Since we are talking about communication, especially about communication when we are upset, the question at hand is: How do we communicate in such a way that the upset becomes an access point to discovering more of ourselves, going deeper into the relationship and coming out of the conversation more ourselves than we were going into it?
Now think about all the people you’ve gotten in conflict with, family members, friends, etc. – look at the falling outs you may have had. If you look at those relationships/interactions you may find you had something to do with it, (if you don’t think so I’ll bet the other person is going to say you had allot to do with it), anyway – lets just assume that you had something to do with it.
Now I doubt that on a conscious level that you ever intended to hurt this person (most of the time at least). Yet most of us have had the experience of deeply hurting or being hurt in a interaction/relationship. So its possible that we have unconscious motives going on which end up causing hurt and/or pain and these concealed motives undermine our conscious intentions. Or another filtered what we said through their unconscious intentions, in just the right way, that they felt injured by you. So this intention thing is a big holding pot for how we communicate.
The philosopher and phenomenologist Husserl Edmund , observed that all acts of consciousness is a form of intentionality. He saw the very nature of consciousness was indistinguishable from intentionality. Every act of consciousness, every movement, isn’t neutral, in every case its a pro-activity . So the more aware we become of our consciousness, and thus our intentions/motives, the more directed we can be, the more consistent we can live with our values, the more our speaking can be aligned with our intention.
Making this more personal, take a moment and Imagine your future is out ahead of you, and it’s moving towards you. When it hits the moment it unfolds as the present…try to picture that. Here you could say that your intention is what gives, or informs, your dance with that unfolding.
We never know what’s going to happen moment-by-moment, yet we respond.
What’s informing that response?
Well, you can say it’s our intention. Our intention informs our dance with the unfolding.
If our intention is open, declared, in alignment, and nothing is in the way – then a true dance is possible.
Or, if we are defended or trying to control the unfolding – I imagine we could agree the “dance” is painful to watch. This is a good lead into what we are going to talk about next.
Communication is a function of intention. What’s your intention?
I really like what Susan Campbell says about this.
She says that either your communicating to control – this person, place thing or event, or your communicating to relate. Your intention in communication is to either control or relate.
Lets start with control. Consider the nature of control. To control is preventative in nature – we are trying to make sure that something doesn’t happen. It’s like playing the game in order to not lose. Think about when you are controlling. We usually don’t know that we are controlling when we are in the grip of our control. And the nature of control is very interesting, its like being active to make sure that something won’t happen. Or, making sure something happens so this other thing doesn’t happen. That is the nature of control. Being in control has a kind of driven and constipated quality to it.
Now, outwardly we may be looking very calm and nice and all that kind of stuff, but inwardly we’ve got a grip going on – we are trying to control reality.
We are going to make sure and not lose something verses being passionate. Passion is all about creation, or going for something – creating something and playing to win. Being alive with conviction vs. a point of view – not driven, but passionate. These are two very different contexts. One is about creation and the other is about, at best, maintenance/ predictability and prevention.
So, control – we all do it allot around our communication. How do we control? In communication, we control what we say, don’t say, or the way we speak or don’t speak to make sure that we know what is going to happen and not happen.
Think about it, there are so many different ways to communicate. Body language, tonality, what I say, the way I say it, the timing with which I say it, the inferences within it – you can say one sentence and have a million meta communications inside of it. And when we are not being authentic, when we are trying to control – then we will try to say things so as to know, to control, in the next moment, what is going to happen.
The question here is:
Why do we need to know what is going to happen next? What is control essentially about?
I will be writing more about that in the next few blog installments.
And in the mean time, we need to ask: Why do we do that? Why do we hold back what is true for us? Or, why do we yell, or be very directive even if its hurting the other people we are communicating with? We are trying to make sure that this one thing happens, so that this other thing does not happen, and we are really tight and playing not to lose….but why? What are we trying to ultimately prevent?