In Part 1 we introduced the idea that we have in our Western Culture very poor listening skills, and similarly, very poor speaking skills. This article is about creating the ability, with practice, to be able to tune into what is actually going on in a conversation in the moment, to speak directly to what is occurring and to do all of this while maintaining our centre.
Practice 1. Tunability
We need to be able to tune into the signals that are in our environment. This requires a form of listening and acuity that few people have. It is a learned skill, hence the practice. Several times a week, start with an objective practice where you are in a meeting or conversation as a lesser stakeholder. In this type of environment you have the opportunity to tune into different things, simply because your stakes are not as high.
Tune into the words that are being spoken, their source code, what is the intent of the speaker, what energy is being applied to the words? Any word has a different meaning depending on the source code intent of the word.
Tune into the words that are not being spoken. What is in the silence? What is behind someone withholding speaking? What is the elephant in the room, the very thing that is not being spoken?
Tune into the energy currents in the room. You have all experienced energy currents. For example, you know what it is like to walk into a room where someone has just been fighting. You can feel it. This is a learned skill. To practice means that you will be able to receive very fine signals of energy exchange. You will even be able to watch the energy shift around the room. Its a simple and as complex as experiencing someone shift from being disengaged, to becoming fully engaged. Why did they engage? What happened that that shifted? Where is the energy flowing? Where is it blocked? Why?
Tune into your own body sensations. Is something making you uncomfortable? What? Why? Where in your body? Or has your energy shifted? Why?
In our Western culture, the art of tunability has been diminished over centuries. In many indigenous communities, tunability is part of daily life. The hit movie, Avatar pointed to the ability of the Naavi to speak to tree’s and animals, the earth, the wind. This is not so fanciful. Many indigenous communities still have high frequency tunable skills. For example, the art of Celestial Navigation, where island people of the Pacific navigated across thousands of miles of open sea using stars, the sea, the fish, the sounds from the boat, the wind. The signals they listen for, and read, are not heard or seen by us. Yet like the millions of radio waves that are in our airwaves all around us, just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there.
Practice 2. Protection and Openness, a dynamic interchange
As you become better at these things you will be able to pick up multiple signals simultaneously. The point is to practice with consciousness, as to really become a high tunable set requires years of deep listening to all of these things and many more. I have written before about how I feel many of our children are being born with a much higher degree of tunability than we have know before. They are very porous. They can pick up the most subtle signals. The problem is they have not learned how to protect themselves from either signal overload, or receiving toxic signals. And because we have not really considered that children are more tunable, adults are not giving children the right support in developing both discrimination and protection mechanisms. Imagine if you will a very fine tuned radio signal receiver. Every single signal is being picked up, 24/7. This is the kind of overload I am speaking of.
This practice is about the art of tuning in and out, and doing so consciously, plus developing your own discrimination, and your own protection. The dynamic equilibrium is a space of openness with protection. If someone is able to ‘read’ you with skill (as all master manipulators and master sales people can) then we need to be able to shut down access. Ironically, the Twilight series of books which has been a global phenomenon deal with some of these issues. Edward hears everything including people’s thoughts. He has to learn to tune out. Bella can block. She has learned to extended her blocking field to include others. (I always look for the archetypal patterns in our pop culture that speak to deeper truths being expressed in our psyche. Twilight, Star Wars, Harry Potter…they all spoke to us through myth and metaphor of some deeply emergent archetypal symbology.)
Practice 3. Practice as a primary participant
Practice these skills when you are in a conversation as a primary player. Because it is often hard to separate our emotions and attachments from these situations, the signals can seem more confused. We need to bring deep presence and attention to our listening. At the same time, we need to be able to hold our own centre. Raise the bar by practicing with people who tend to unsettle you. Simply start with the high frequency tunability. Ideally straight after the conversation, make notes of all the things you picked up during that conversation. Hours later your recall will be dimmer.
I have a daily practice where in the evenings I review my day…and do a full body scan for any part of me that feels icky or off. (Very technical words, but you know what I mean.) Anything, no matter how subtle or loud. Then I go back to Source. Where did this off feeling start, and why? The more we develop our tunability the more we are able to pick up extremely subtle signals that we would have missed before. And this is the point. To be able to function as an exemplary leader we need to be able to have a very high frequency tunability. Nothing should go under our radar.
Practice 4. What is the source code?
Simultaneously, the practice is to get to source code. What was the source code of the violation. Some examples.
Lack of trust
Lack of respect
Power over another, either covert, or overt
Control issues (power again)- out of control or wanting everything to be tightly controlled
Low self esteem expressed as righteousness, arrogance
Terror at being discovered as wrong/less than (impostor syndrome)
High need to be liked, or respected
Manipulation for kicks (a psychopath will do this for no other reason)
Deep insecurity expressed as arrogance, bravado, ‘know-it-all’ syndrome
Practice 5. What is our source code of participation?
Finally, we have the practice of recognising our contribution to this scenario. Every bully needs a victim. Every manipulator needs someone they can manipulate. Our developmental path is also about recognising how we have allowed ourselves to be caught in these kind of games with these specific types of people. We need to find the source code of our agreement to participate and unplug it. This is deep developmental work, which I recommend you do with support from a good professional coach or therapist.
Practice 6. Speak the Truth
Once we have access to source code, we then need to develop the ability to speak to that in a way that allows mutual learning, or unplugs the dynamic immediately. This is its own right is a life skill. It was the reason I created Dare to Care program and the Speak the Truth ebook.
*Many years ago I was involved in a business relationship with a highly charismatic male. This character was a master manipulator, able to put very smart and intelligent people under his ‘spell’. Most of us had little awareness that this was happening. The lure was tailored to different people, but like many of our modern day ‘lures’, it had to do with increasing success, and being part of a tribe. We see these lures in many forms of marketing all over the web, on our TV and in our magazines, predators looking for their next target. The target, anyone who is slightly unstable, emotionally off centre or in high need. Indeed, most of the advertising industry is highly manipulative and very strategically designed to lure prey. (That would be us.)
At some point I woke from this spell, the modern day sleeping beauty, and realised how deeply I had been skipping down a merry garden path, the wrong path for me. Waking up was step one. Then I had to keep my centre when I was in a conversation with this person. This required every ounce of my energy and focus. He was very skilled. I had to be sure to take breaks, to remove myself from the conversation so I could regain my centre. It didn’t always work. But I gained in strength with each interaction. And he knew it and did not like it.
Finally I was in a meeting with about 20 people, and this man, who was sitting at the other end of the table to me, verbally attacked me. To be clear, this was an energetic attack. It was as if he reached into my chest and punched my heart from 20 feet away. I could hardly breath. Almost everyone in the room felt it. I managed to hold my centre. This took everything. I could not speak back to him and name his source code, but I did not fold in his presence. Needless to say it was the end of the relationship.
His source code was pure power. The delight from holding so many people in the palm of his hand. It probably came from some deep sense of self loathing. I didn’t need to name it to him. I did need to name it for me. And I needed to learn about my predilection to be manipulated and seduced (not sexually but intellectually) by seemingly powerful charismatic men…a pattern that has been a part of my life until quite recently. This stage of my development under the spell of a true master was the beginning of my awareness. I am far from mastery myself, but much more able to sense the violation at the moment of violation, if not able to name it. I believe I am also no longer open to being manipulated by a charismatic powerful male. (I had several further experiences after this one to practice. Very fun!)
*I was involved in a team with several other women. About four months out from our event, the early signs of breakdown were apparent with one of the team members, specifically directed towards me. This was a power play. While I was aware of it, I did not take enough action at the time. I stepped over it, thinking I had addressed it. Not so. There was a level of toxicity under that relationship that I was not tuning into. During the event it became extremely loud. I reacted. I actually did name the behaviour, which was extreme stubbornness as a tool to hold the locus of power. However I did it from such anger and frustration that I only helped to increase her power. She held her power, or I ceded my power to her, for many months afterwards, until I was finally able to regain my centre. The situation is now neutral for me (fully healed, as I have no charge), but very unhealed for her, even after multiple offers to create healing. I learned a powerful lesson about not stepping over anything…no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. (See clean communication.) I learned how not to speak truth, to name using anger and blame. I learned that I contributed to the situation, but it happened with collusion of everyone, as well as the women involved. It wasn’t just me, it was a collective agreement made at an unconscious level to ‘keep the peace.” (That strategy rarely works.)
*Children of addicts are often exposed to the most supreme of master manipulators, liars, and spell-casters. Addictive behaviours like alcoholism often comes with a pattern of lying, deception, manipulation and treachery. For children to untangle from the emotional and spiritual entrapment they often experience with their addictive parents takes all of the skills and practices mention in this article. It can take many years of diligent practice to truly untangle from the patterns of addictive manipulation. If the adult does not manage to untangle from this pattern with their parents, then the likelihood of the addictive pattern being repeated is high.
As you can see, the skill and ability to be able to develop listening and speaking intelligence with consummate mastery is not a weekend workshop.
These skills are advanced personal and relational skills. They take years and years of practice.
The benefit of mastering these skills
*you will be able to keep your centre of power when faced with overt or covert violation
*you will be able to manage highly skilled manipulators, including people who have got away with such behaviours as the victim (poor me), the child (I don’t know how to do this/I can’t do this), the addict (everything from poor me, to helplessness to rage), and all the more subtle shades in between
*you will be able to pick up vital information in the field that you would have missed
*your intuitive skills will develop exponentially
*you ability to speak the truth and name without belittling and shaming will advance
*your self worth and self esteem will increase
*your value as a leader will increase
*you salary scale will increase because these skills are rare and needed
*you will be more comfortable in your own skin
*your ability to work with teams will increase
*parenting and community skills will increase
*the perpetrator will also benefit. When people name the behaviour, a perpetrator has the opportunity to observe themselves. A very skilled person will be able to support the perpetrator to have this be a very valuable opportunity for them to move past the behaviour and set them on course for their own learning.
If you or your team are interested in working with me on these skills, drop me a note.