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Richard describes one of the key ways in which we avoid being present to ourselves and others. With the essential insight shared in this short video, you can change how your relate to everyone in your life.
[MUSIC PLAYING] Have you ever noticed how much time you spend inside yourself, inside your mind, talking to yourself, talking to yourself about you, talking to yourself about what you should have done and should do, but also talking to other people, imagining a conversation that you want to have with that person, the conversation that’s going to finally help you explain to someone else what’s so important to you, what you would like them to understand about you? Or maybe it’s a conversation about asking for forgiveness, about how you’ve learned to see through different eyes, and you can recognize where the other person is, and you want them to know how you have had this change of heart.
But the fascinating thing, the really fascinating thing is that when you finally sit down in front of any of those people, the conversation will never unfold that way, because the person you imagine inside of yourself is your own creation. The person you’re talking to isn’t your daughter or your son or your husband or your wife or your lover or girlfriend, boyfriend, someone at work, your employer. It isn’t ever that person.
That person in your head is your own construct, and what is really happening, as valuable as sometimes the practice of the conversation may be in helping you then later have a conversation with greater clarity, nevertheless, most of the time, what we’re really doing is becoming narcissistically encased in our own mental vortex, our own constant talking, building a world– it’s an imaginary world. And in so doing, actually not being present in our bodies, to our real feelings, to our actual sensations, to what’s really happening right now to what we see, what we hear, the world itself. It’s as if this one activity, which is one of the most pervasive activities within our heads, within our thinking mind, goes on and on and on and on.
And the reason I bring it up is because if there were one thing you could choose to wake yourself up out of, it could be these imaginary conversations. Now if you say to yourself, you know, I have a very important discussion that I need to have with my son. What is it I really want to point out to him? In other words, if you intentionally practice and look at how you’re going to express yourself, how you want to listen, that’s a very valid use of conscious intentionality and intelligent awareness.
But that’s not what happens. That happens ever so rarely. The vast majority of the time, we’re just simply churning story after story after story, conversation after conversation after conversation with people that we think are real, but are really just creations in our own mind. So if you can see this, just simply say, oh, I’m in an imaginary conversation. And in that second, let it go.
Feel what happens in that second, in that moment in which there’s been so much identification, so much of thinking invested in that imaginary conversation, and then your aware ego looks and sees, look at what I’m doing. I’m having an imaginary conversation. And in that split second, it drops. And you’re in a moment of simple presence, simple presence of awareness.
And usually, it’s only a moment before some other form of thinking comes in. For example, the narrator will come in and say, oh, look. I woke up to the fact that I was in an imaginary conversation, and I stopped it. And so the narrator starts telling you, the commentator starts telling you what you did and how well you did it, and between the narrator commentator and this process of repeated conversations with people in our heads, I think for most of us, that’s probably 90% of the ways in which we simply avoid being alive, awake, present, here and now.
And so by pointing this out, I’m inviting you to trust that when it comes time to have a real conversation with someone, because you’ve stopped these imaginary conversations over and over again, you’ll be in a better position to actually speak from your heart, and you’ll be in a better position to hear this person when they speak to you, because if you’ve dwelled so long on who they are and how they haven’t been or how they should be and what you should say and what you shouldn’t say, then you’ve constructed them in such a way that when they’re actually in front of you, you won’t see them, and you really won’t hear them. You’ll filter them, and you’ll filter what they say. You’ll reinterpret what they say so quickly that the conversation is in a sense doomed to ever having real intimacy, real connectedness.
So wake up. This has been one of the most important places for me in all of the important relationships in my life to be able to differentiate between the conversation I have in my mind and letting go and trusting that when a real conversation is happening, it will unfold. I’ll be available to myself, to my feeling, to my heart. My body wisdom and my heart wisdom will be there in forming my words, and I’ll be able to hear the other, see the other, sense the other, understand more of where he or she is coming from.
So wake yourself up out of these imaginary conversations and all the commenting you make and narrating you make about these imaginary conversations. And take a taste again and again and again and again of clear-mindedness. Let’s have people be real and not just imaginary constructs. Thank you for your attention.