One of the joys of having Susan Kullman teach a program for Emergence Education, is that during the weeks that lead up to the start of the program we speak weekly and I get to learn about what she intends to teach.
As we approach Susan’s new program, Authentic Relationships: How to Embody Conscious Communication, we have been speaking about the depth of emotional clarity that she will support people to cultivate and how this depth of clarity will transform your life.
Below you can find an essay that I wrote based on one of our conversations, that will give you a sense of at least one of the skills that will be taught in her upcoming program.
I hope you enjoy this essay, and if you are interested to learn more about Susan’s new program you can find all the details here.
Have you ever wondered how it is possible to deceive yourself? Sometimes when we’re challenged and under pressure we find it impossible to think clearly. This usually happens when we are trying to think under the influence of strong emotions like fear, anger, desire, lust, even bliss, and sometimes, no matter how hard we try to calm down, we can’t seem to see clearly.
The fact is that the presence of strong emotions makes it nearly impossible to think clearly. Once defensiveness, suspicion, or passion are engaged they bend our thoughts and make them untrustworthy. We find it hard to know what is real and what to trust.
Most of us assume that the solution is ‘calm down'. If we can just relax, we believe that we will be able to see clearly again. Indeed, maintaining equanimity is crucial in challenging moments, but on its own it’s not necessarily enough to restore your mind to clarity.
You see, we can calmly listen to distorted thinking almost as easily as we can in a panic, or in the throes of lust or pride. Strong emotions cloud our perception by distracting us and making it difficult to see our thoughts clearly, but they also distort our thinking.
We have all experienced this in ourselves when we very clearly and calmly make a bad decision. We also see it when we argue with our partner and they finally calm down and then very clearly restate all of their distorted beliefs. We assume that if we are calm we must be thinking clearly, this is not always the case, and believing that it is makes us vulnerable to self-deception.
If we are able to calm down we will be able to see our thoughts more clearly, and that is half the battle, but we can be calm in the face of emotional turbulence, while our minds remain distorted. Ignoring our emotions will not necessarily clarify our thinking, in fact just the opposite.
When you practice the skills of conscious communication you will learn that ignoring your emotions seldom brings clarity. Of course, obsessing on or indulging in them won’t either. The only thing that restores clarity to a mind distorted by strong emotions is learning to stop listening to your thoughts and listen to your emotions instead.
Our emotions are communicating with us, they are telling us something, and as long as they are ignored, they will persist. If we ignore the messages of our emotions they will influence us unconsciously. That is one of the primary sources of self-deception.
Listening to your emotional messages, especially under pressure, is a key skill of conscious communication. Yes, you need to be calm and even more importantly rest in the center of your power, which somatically is located in your hara, the center of your belly.
Once you are centered, it might be tempting to simply look at your distorted thoughts from there and believe that they are telling you the truth. This is often not the case. Instead, from the power of your hara you can look directly at the emotional turmoil. This requires trust and courage because our emotions are often telling us things we don’t want to hear.
The practice of conscious communication involves learning to be:
1. Centered in your power.
2. Courageously open to your emotions.
3. Able to see beyond the distorting influence of your mind.
When you are well practiced at these, you will always be able to see what is going on emotionally, and that is the real secret to clear thinking and conscious communication.
Once you have emotional clarity, you will be able to see how your emotions are distorting your thinking because you will not be looking at your thoughts from inside an emotional storm. You have stepped outside of the turbulence by looking at it. Your mind might still be in turmoil, but now you can see clearly how that upheaval is affecting you.
Whether you are in communication with someone else or with yourself, learning to rest in your power, trust the wisdom of your feelings and listen to them, is what allows you to see clearly and respond appropriately under all circumstances.
Power, trust, and receptivity, are three of the essential aspects of conscious communication with yourself and others.