Communication is the foundation for human relationships and life is all about sharing. If you can’t share, then what is the point?
Even the wealthiest people who have all the material things and have everything that they can have for lifetimes, what they value the most is time and company. They fight for land, for resources, for wealth, for information, for so many different aspects, but in the end what they value the most is time and company.
Most of the human projects that end up failing is because about eighty to ninety percent of the time, the reason that they fail is because of misunderstanding. You understand what that means? People misunderstand each other because they don’t have a good base for communication. So how do we start with communication. How do we start with communication? First, we have to be grateful.
The first step of communication is gratitude, empathy. From gratitude comes empathy. So we have gratitude at the top. When we are grateful to our situation, we are grateful to the company that we have, to everything, and then we become more humble. When we are more humble, we listen more; we try to understand.
When you are humble, you are more aware, so you listen more. You don’t care so much about imposing what you want or what you are. That’s not so important when you are humble, when you are grateful. That is when empathy comes in. So when somebody says something, you don’t listen to answer, you listen to understand. That is the first step to communication. You listen to understand, not to answer.
I know many people, before you even finish speaking, they already want to say something. And what is this? This is ego.
So, listen to understand, and if you don’t understand then you ask questions to understand better. This is the first step of communication.
And even if sometimes people don’t say anything, if you are humble, if you are grateful, then you are aware, “Oh, maybe they are suffering. Maybe there is something.”
Even if they are trying to smile you can see they are having problems. And that is the first step to true joy. When you think, “Me, me, me, me, me, poor me, poor me,” there is no joy in that, and then you want people to pay attention to you and then you bring them down, too.
We can learn so much if we observe instead of just looking at ourselves – me, big me, at the center of everything, me. Instead of looking at that, start to observe the small details. When you see the beauty in everybody, how beautiful everybody is, then you appreciate his or her presence. Wow, amazing! Then you can also start appreciating your presence. You start to see your beauty, which is infinite and magic.
So the first step is communication. How to do that? By having total gratitude at all times. Because we are creatures of habit, we work based on habit, so we start every morning, “Thank you, I woke up today. Thank you, I am alive today. I can appreciate life. I can even practice meditation.”
Extracted from Adapting Positively to Any Circumstance, a talk Ösel gave at Institut Vajra Yogini in the south of France.