Meditations

Here are some thoughts, stories, and ideas to inspire you regarding Clean Communication. Read them, and you’ll take away lessons of wisdom and clarity.

“Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”

–Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The 4 Agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz is a famous Mexican author who has been massively influential in his spiritual and self-growth writings. His best selling book, The Four Agreements, has sold millions of copies and inspired countless people around the world. The basic premise of the book is that there are 4 agreements we can make with ourselves that enhance our personal freedom and release us from self-imposed limitations and unhappiness. Here, we list and elaborate upon each.

1. Be Impeccable with Your Words

  • Avoid self destruction or self harm by careful thinking.
  • Avoid gossip, self deprecation, false truths and empty promises.
  • Realize the harm inherent in aggressive speech.
  • Realize that in hurting others, we hurt ourselves.
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
  • Speak with integrity and conviction.
  • Use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

  • Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want.
  • Communicate with others clearly and honestly.
  • Avoid judgment of an action or situation before asking direct questions.
  • Combine common sense with wisdom and insight to make informed distinctions.
  • Avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

  • Realize that nothing others do is because of you.
  • Realize the cycle of negativity that results from assumed enemy action.
  • Realize that others actions mirror their own reality and their own dream.
  • Be honest with yourself about that for which you are responsible.
  • Build and fortify your immunity to the actions and opinions of others.
  • Let go of suffering and guilt that is attached to others.

4. Always Do Your Best

  • Accept that the “best you can do” will change from moment to moment.
  • Accept that inaction is a denial of life, and that being in action is fully living.
  • Realize that inaction finds its roots in fear, and action in courage and inspiration.
  • Utilize your energy and strength of will to solve conflicts without wasted negativity.
  • Avoid self-judgment, self abuse and regret.

Two Wolves

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”
The old chief simply replied,

“The one you feed.”

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the council of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Soul Nature

The intent of this piece is to describe a soul nature that gracefully and powerfully moves people, groups, and the world.
Everyone, in their own way, is working towards this state. Each is a journey, not a destination.
An essential understanding of all points is necessary. Striving for all points is necessary. Being all points is not.

Interacting with the World

  • open, aware, peaceful, passionate yet not obstinate or single-minded
  • thoughts & actions stray from the cruel, violent, nefarious, or aggressive, and move toward compassion and betterment for all
  • community minded
  • mole hills don’t seem like mountains; they seem like mole hills; and, what are truly mountains?
  • given up righteous indignation, inter-personally and politically, however Just, as a way of being and thinking

Internal Locus of Control

  • the law, suing, rewards, rules, so and so said, . . . you are beyond these as moving you
  • “I can’t be ____{happy}____ unless . . . .” Recognition that whatever is after the ellipse is placed there by yourself, not others. Frustration, sadness, anger – these are entirely your own doing.
  • “Lord, I asked you as nicely as I could to make me a better person. You just couldn’t be bothered, could you?!”
  • difficulties arise, yet you see yourself as the responsible actor in improvements. When efforts don’t work, you still turn inward, even when you seek aid elsewhere for the cause or actions.
  • your happiness no longer revolves around other people agreeing with you.

Your Feet

Long ago, a fellow was walking through the world with bare feet, and he got cut by sharp rocks, burned by hot sand, and pricked by sticks and thorns. He thought to himself, “The world is too hot and sharp! Aha! I’ll cover the entire world with leather. Then, wherever I walk, I’ll be okay!” He eventually realized that it wasn’t possible to create all this leather with all the animals he could ever find. Then, instead, he decided to wrap leather around his two feet, and he was able to walk anywhere. Get it? Dangerous next thought: “Okay, but I’ll wrap leather around just this one person/event.”

Interacting with Oneself

  • playful and flexible with issues both surface and deep, yet not treated lightly when needed
  • open to knowledge and ready to apply it yet also a healthy skeptic
  • grounded, yet flexible, like the sapling. The tall tree topples in the strong wind.
  • learned not to give yourself away. Dirty communication. Rescues.
  • realized that nearly all your pain results from: getting what I don’t want, and not getting what I do want
  • separation of self from other . . .you are distinct, you are yourself. The other comes after and with conscious consideration.
  • clarity about your values: being present, yet seeing the horizon and points along it for yourself clearly. You have landmarks and guide stars which hold you from straying from your path.

“They”

What everyone does or says is not very important to you anymore. Often, people reference, implicitly or explicitly the other as the REASON for their actions/thoughts. Your actions are yours, and your thoughts are yours. You stand solely present, yet influenced from the outside by your considered choice. Whether people agree with you or not hardly matters – you selectively feed from the environment, not the environment on you. Voting and polls and mentioning/gathering groups/posses of people is something you’ve outgrown as a mental space. Likewise, groupings such as gender, politics,
passions/hobbies, money, affiliation with a clique/subgroup, etc. are held as a drop of information in a vast sea. “They” and “Us” are not useful concepts to you.

Evaluation / Feedback

Regardless of who, how, or when, evaluations and feedback are taken as of value – to be drunken in like tea, keeping the parts that offer nourishment, and letting the rest pass through you. An uncommon openness and acceptance of the tea is your nature, allowing it in, rather than fighting or denigrating/devaluing the cup or the tea itself. Open curiosity.

Interacting with a Turbulent Other

  • seeing both instead of or . . . having the needs of the other matter along with our own. Not limiting or combative.
  • gentle nature – you are a peace maker and able to see more than what is presented; you don’t get sea sick when waves are high. When violence is witnessed, you see the violence beyond its loud mask to its quiet core. You yourself do not generate violence or aggression.
  • “Those people are just like this . . .” ends responsibility, options, and empathy. You personalize instead of objectify.

Personality Differences / Issues/ Concerns

These are no longer of any interest to you other than observation. Personality differences are not offered as excuses or reasons for interpersonal or working relationships. Personality conflicts are something that used to happen to you when you were learning about people, but are no longer holding you back from a soul nature on a different level. You realize that there are more universal ways of relating to people without a “they” or “foe” sentiment (such as untangled needs). Similarly, you maintain an open nature towards others, instead of the self-protection of subgroups, cliques, and exclusivity.

Judgment and Opinions

Draw a distinction between judgment and opinions. Without opinions, you’re a feather in the wind. You stand for nothing, so you’ll fall for anything. Judgment involves a person being Wrong in some manner, as opposed to an idea or strategy separate from them. Judgment also implies a penchant, however strong, to not consider openly another perspective, without getting caught up in being right or gaming the other person in a verbal sword duel. Rather than expressing one’s thoughts on a matter reasonably and with curiosity about the other position, the speaker believes the other person
“should” take on their point of view. They are Wrong! The closer the position is tied to the ego, the more “should” sentiment is attached to it.

Everyday,in all your interactions and patterns of thoughts, you choose what kind of soul nature you’re developing, and consequently, will have.

The Eightfold Path: Right Speech

The following is one of the points of the “Eightfold Path” of the Buddha.

Words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows:

1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully,

2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others,

3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and

4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.

The Creative Brain vs. the Reactive Brain

The image below shows different states of consciousness that are possible to inhabit in the human experience. This model shows the states on two sides of ‘the line’. To the right of the line are the states of consciousness related to “Reactive Brain”. On the left side of the line are the states of consciousness found in “Creative Brain”. As an individual moves from the left of the line to the right, their state of being becomes more contracted and less expansive.

Want to understand more? The image may give you the gist, and you can find an explanation and a fully life-changing lesson on the Creative Brain vs. the Reactive Brain by clicking on the button:

Gossip and Rumor

I commit to ending gossip, talking directly to people with whom I have an issue or concern, and encouraging others to talk directly to people with whom they have an issue or concern.


I commit to saying things about people that I have not or will not say to them. I commit to talking about people in ways I wouldn’t if they were there. I commit to listening to others when they gossip.

Which side are you on?

Gossip

  • Evaluative social talk about individuals, usually not present, that arises in the context of social network formation, change and maintenance.
  • Gossip is a necessary aspect of communication in groups. It is an efficient way of spreading information.
  • A key element of cultural learning, social intelligence, and social comparison information.

Gossip can be clean or dirty.

Rumor

  • Public communications that are infused with private hypotheses about how the world works.
  • Passing stories and suppositions that can explain things, address anxieties, and provide a rationale for behavior.
  • Unverified statements. Urban Legends.
  • Sense-making, threat management amid uncertainty. Way of making sense to help us cope with our anxieties.
  • Often (a) hoped-for consequences (wish rumors), (b) those invoking feared or disappointing consequences (dread rumors), or (c) wedge-driving rumors.
  • Entertainment, wish fulfillment, alliance making and maintenance.
Applying and Exploring
Gossip, while often thought of as purely dirty communication, has both Dirty and Clean aspects. What type of gossip is occurring comes down largely to the social context of the conversation. If the information related is used without the consent of the other person, and/or in a way that emphasizes your connection to others, your status as a ‘knowledge gatherer’ or your willingness to support/create a ‘faction’ – it’s likely Dirty Communication that eats away at social cohesion.
If the gossip is the passing on of verified information about a person not present, but who if present, would happily share and relate that information – then the gossip is Clean Communication, and likely builds social bonds up. Here are some self-check questions for GOSSIP:
  • How would I feel if this were said about me?
    • Poorly? It’s probably Dirty.
    • Great! It’s likely Clean.
  • Would I still say this if the person I am talking about were present?
    • Nope! It’s probably Dirty.
    • Yes, and they would be happy/glad I was sharing this! Likely, clean.
  • Would I be comfortable with this being posted on social media or a public place?
    • Nope! It’s probably Dirty.
    • Yes, and likely the other person would post it themselves in the same fashion I’m telling it! CLEAN!
    • Maybe, and I’m not 100% positive. Likely err on the side of caution and check in with the person. Any doubt in the matter is a gap for misunderstanding and dirty communication.
  • What is the effect of the words I’m saying?
    • Others changing their opinion/relation to the person in the story; others forming around the exclusion of the other person; surprise on the part of the other person – remember, others may react poorly to even ‘good’ information being related about them – these actions destabilize communities and are likely dirty communication. Other person walks in on the conversation and says, “wait, WHAT are you saying?!”
    • Relation of information – largely neutral responses from those involved; “Thanks for letting me know, that’s important for my own thinking/process-making;” little/no charge to the words involved; Other person walks in on the conversation and says “oh good, you’re telling them about _________. Thank you for that!”
Rumors are dirty communication – they lack a clean component because they’re based in speculation, guess, unverified information, hypothesis, etc. They’re shared in the absence of a full conversation or discussion, and often one-sided. They serve to bring small groups together against other people/groups. They fracture social fabrics.

Picking up the Rope

People sometimes try and throw you a rope, hoping that you’ll engage and play the “I’m Right” tug of war game with them. They perceive that something has to be done, because they believe that what they want is threatened. There really isn’t any discussion on the matter at hand, but they have learned that arguments can help them avoid what they do not want to face/do.

So,people (this is very common with children) become reliant on throwing others (adults) a “rope” and hoping that we will pick it up and start “playing” with them. It has also been called the “Hoover Maneuver” because they try and suck you in.

Follow the link and learn how to deal with this trap.