Mercury, the messenger, travels swiftly, spreading its message. We, too, have messages to communicate. They often play on loop in our minds and we arrive to our audience eager to let the words out of the cage.
Have you ever noticed that the more you have to say, the less that gets heard? Sometimes we can get so focused on our agenda for what we want to communicate that we fail to notice that our message isn’t landing.
Communicate literally means to make common. We generally think of this as an active verb: presenting our message in a way that makes it digestible and relatable, so that our audience — whether that’s a reader, a listener, or a conversation partner — can understand it.
But “making common” isn’t just about how we explain our ideas or express our opinions. It’s also about how we listen to others. This is not a “passive” form of communication; it is also an active way we communicate. When we hold space for others to express and help them feel seen and heard, we are “making common” their experience and ideas.
When we feel heard, we know that we are not alone. We feel connected to others; part of a community. This creates a feeling of belonging and union, which gives us a deeper foundation from which to share our message and hold space for others.
And so it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle, an upward spiral.
As we root in a deeper foundation we can hold more space for listening, which allows others to feel seen, which helps us connect more deeply, which helps others hear our message more clearly.
So what gets in the way of this connection and communication?
We aren’t rooted in the foundation of the present moment.
We aren’t getting through because we are disconnected.
The metaphor of our devices is a good one: when you have too many apps open on your computer, phone, or tablet, everything slows down. If you’re trying to stream a Zoom you might find the screen freezes or the sound gets static.
To improve the clarity of the Zoom, you need to close the apps in the background.
We often arrive with too many “apps” open in the background, which reduce our bandwidth to be present. Some of those apps are running the scripts of our agenda; the message we want to convey, the point we want to drive home, the opinion we must express.
It’s important for us to make sure that we have a solid connection by closing all extraneous apps, so that we can receive the communication.
Obviously this refers to listening to what the other person has to say. And it also refers to listening to ourselves.
When we approach any conversation with an agenda for what we want to say, we lose connection with the inner voice that tells us what needs to be said.
The best way to be heard is to listen to yourself first.
True connection, community, and communion are the foundation that give us our support in life. We arrive there not through spreading our message but from deep presence and listening.