Today I was watching a class with DeRose and he said that: “You can tell anyone anything, the deciding factor is only HOW you say it.” And this got me thinking…
Is there a way I can teach my students (and myself) to improve what we communicate?
Well, if we are going to improve, we need to first understand why we would fail… I would suggest that the key factor which influences HOW we communicate is emotion.
Very quickly just to frame our discussion… One idea about living beings is that they have many layers in which they exist. One is a physical, a very dense, skin, bone, flesh level. More subtle than this is a layer of energy, electricity, magnetism, nervous pulses, etc. which powers this dense layer.
The relationship between these layers is also key, as instability in denser layers obscure all other layers. For example, if you are feeling tired and sleepy on your way home and suddenly there is a strong physical layer instability — let’s say that you sprain your ankle — your attention will immediately be focused on the dense physical and you will probably not even notice that you were tired.
More subtle than these two is emotion. This is what is felt. Mostly (although possibly too generalist) your emotions are either trying to maximize pleasure or avoid pain. They have very little appreciation for what is good for you and for what will achieve the results you desire.
Next, in the subtlety scale is the rational mind. This is the level which allows us to plan, think through and achieve the best results.
One of the problems when trying to say anything is that when we are trying to say something more touchy, or meaningful, or weighty, or argumentative, or … you get it…emotional…. Well, because of its very nature the emotions at this time become unstable and obstruct the rational. Inevitably, communication suffers.
BUT, what I wanted this article to be about is really to offer a suggestion of a way to manage the emotions.
So here we go!There may be many ways to manage emotions, but we can often summarize them in two large groups: pushing away and acknowledging.
Pushing emotions away is all about not feeding them with any energy, to ignore them, to push and repress them so that they don’t get in the way. How many of us have heard before that emotions have no place at the office? This is the most common approach and we are taught to swallow the emotions… period…
The theory here goes: that pretending it is not there, pushing it away and repressing the emotions works because they change quickly and so in no time you will return to rational clarity.
I am sure that the practice is that this is WAY easier said and impossibly done…
Another approach would be to acknowledge the emotion and still act on your own accord…This is harder… “I know I am angry. Thank you emotions for sharing this amazing insight with me… I will take your information under advisement but I am not going to behave the way you are suggesting.”
Some people may even say that this is impossible… and I agree… without training it is impossible.
So what is the training? Well, the best training I know is to practice the DeRose Method and incorporate the techniques and concepts you learn into your day to day. This will be the foundation that will allow you to have consistent success.
If you are not already training anything, then i suggest you start with breathing.
Breathing is magical. It is a fundamental building block of emotional management, of concentration and more!
I would set as an initial objective to increase oxygen. In order to achieve this increase the sub-objectives would be to slow down the breathing process and to increase the amount of air in each breath.
I wrote on another blog post some instructions so allow me to repeat them: In order to achieve the best results there are some prerequisites:
— all breathing is done through the nostrils. (if you want I am happy to explain this in depth later);
— you need to know (intellectually) and be aware (physically) of the four stages in your breathing: inhaling, holding air in your lungs, exhaling and keeping your lungs empty;
— you need to be aware of the three areas of your lungs: abdominal, rib cage and chest.
OK. that is the basics. Let me go into a bit of depth into the last point as I think that this is possibly the one people have less familiarity with:
Given our stated objective above, we also need to maximize the usage of the capacity of your lungs throughout the breathing cycle. We achieve this by becoming aware of the different parts of your lungs:
— the abdominal muscles and diaphragm;
— the rib cage;
— the chest.
The region of the chest represents the movement up and down of your torso and there is around 10% of the capacity of your lungs there. The Rib cage area is the sideways expansion of your torso and there is around 30% of your pulmonary capacity there. Therefore, the remainder, approximately 60%, is found in the abdominal region. If we are to maximize the capacity of your lungs this is the golden rule.
When you INHALE:
— Begin by expanding the abdominal muscles outwards, this will give room to expand your diaphragm and lungs, increasing the overall capacity.
— Once that region is filled, expand your rib cage sideways.
— Once you reach the maximum lateral expansion, raise the chest.
— First lower the chest;
— then contract the rib cage;
— finish by contracting the abdominal muscles and compressing the lungs.
We call this the complete breathing.
Try it. Try it now.