In this premiere edition of the Language of Mindfulness podcast your host, mindfulness coach and TEDx speaker (2021) Brett Hill, talks about the importance of bringing mindfulness into our day-to-day conversations. From this mindful place, a few mindfulness-based communication skills give you a golden opportunity to deepen your connections with others, authentically and meaningfully. He explains what he means by The Language of Mindfulness and gives an example of a technique he calls “the big picture” which asks an important question of you and everyone. When we interact with each other starting with the appreciation of the incredible amount of common ground we have with every person, by virtue of our shared human experience, does that change the conversation?
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Brett Hill: Hello and welcome to the Language of Mindfulness podcast where we will talk about how to have extraordinary conversations every day. My name is Brett Hill and I am your host for this podcast in this series, which is going to be amazing. We are going to have some of the best guests ever in the fields of somatic psychology, communications, psychotherapy, mindfulness, and thought leaders from everywhere to give us the lowdown on how to be more mindful and present in our conversations so that we can reclaim the art of conversation and find ways to communicate more clearly and authentically bring ourselves more into our everyday lives. I mean what better way to re-establish and reconnect to the meaning and value of our lives that we can bring to everything we do and each person that we interact with. Then to learn how to be more mindful and present with each experience of talking to someone, when getting someone even looking at their face. What is that feel like what is that bring up in me? How do I want to engage?
Brett: And using that information with some finely crafted communication skills to help us learn how to deepen conversations when those opportunities present themselves, to not miss those opportunities because we are present and noticing that, “Ah, here is a moment where I can make a choice to say or do something or speak something in a way that deepens the connection rather than sidetracks it.” Let me give you an example, very common when we are talking with other people, someone speaking and what is going on when in my head or in other people’s minds whenever we are not speaking instead of listening with our full attention. We are thinking about what are we going to say next. This is very common to people particularly when I am doing coaching with people and we start to explore what is going on whenever I hear… listening frequently people will say, “Well I am thinking about what am I going to say?” Sure, of course, that makes a ton of sense. However, you really sort of multitasking in a way in that case. You are not really listening. Being present with this other person instead you are thinking, “What am I going to do?” The focus is on you.
Brett: And so here we are already talking about how you can bring more of yourself into a conversation and be more present with just a simple little practice like, “Oh, am I really paying attention to what someone is saying?” and, “What that feels like to me?” or, “Am I thinking instead about what I am going to be doing in the future.” Writers and straight-up mindfulness practice thinking about what you are going to do is actually taking you out of the moment. So being present with what is actually happening. That is why this is a mindfulness practice in communications with others. The magic that this makes possible. It is not really magic. It is actually more like science in a way, but the effects can feel very magical and so Carl Rogers, the founder of Rogerian cycle. They have made a whole branch of psychology after Rogerian psychology. Very client-focused.
Brett: Very much. Being present with your experience of a client and a lot of what I have learned and found a value has come from my training and my background in somatic mindfulness-based psychotherapy. I do not practice as a therapist but I use those same techniques every day in my life. Also in my coaching where I do mindfulness coaching. So here is what Roger said. He said there is another peculiar satisfaction any hearing someone. It is like listening to the music of the spheres. Because beyond the immediate message of the person matter what that might be. There is the universal hidden in all the personal communications which I really hear there seems to be an orderly psychological law, aspects of the same order. We find in the universe as a whole. So there is both the satisfaction of hearing this person and also the satisfaction of feelings oneself in touch with what is universally true.
Brett: Wow, for me that really resonates because when I am deeply listening to someone, I feel myself in touch with this universality. Think about this for a minute. We have so much in common with everyone we know and everyone you do not know. We are all human beings, right? So let us start at the very top level. Obviously, we are all humans, but that does not create just saying that out loud does not make me feel like I am a kindred spirit with everyone on the planet, right? But maybe it can, maybe there is a doorway here. What if you drill into this a little bit more? What does it mean? What do we all share in common that we can relate to person-to-person before you know a single thing about anyone. Let me put it to you this way. This goes very deep. Think about this. If you were to look at someone and they are just telling you, “Oh today I’m doing XYZ.” That is fine. But if you look at someone and then you are thinking, “This person, like me, knows what it is like to be completely dependent on someone else for their survival.” Now, you may be thinking, “Wait. What I am taking care of myself. I do not need someone to stand around protect me.” That is true as an adult but we have all experienced every single one of us, what it is like to be a helpless infant and all the way up until you are fairly cognizant until you know, you want to years old. You must absolutely have someone taking care of your every need and preventing you from doing crazy things, like jumping off the roof or falling off a cliff and you know, sticking your finger in an electrical socket. Someone has to feed you and take care of you and without that, you will not survive. And as an infant when we are building our attachment to neural networks, those are very important as a whole over the conversation on attachment.
Brett: When those things are forming, we know very much that we have to have something outside of ourselves. Take care of us because you cannot cook your own food. And if you sit there and you scream long enough then maybe somebody will feed you and so it really goes to the roots of the human experience and you might think, “Well, that is a long time ago. I do not remember any of that.” But still, there is this aspect of human psychology where even these very early memories are kind of encoded into our experience of who we are and we all know that we have at some point in our lives needed other people to take care of us in a major way. And so that is just a starting point that we all have been ill. We all know what it feels like to be sick in and maybe desperately so.
Brett: We all know what it feels like to have some achievements, some success. What it is like to have an accomplishment or to be celebrated. What is it like to be shamed? Have someone publicly shamed you? You are well? You know you did not do so well here. On my own history, I have been, how should I say… embarrassed at not hitting the winning ball and the last game of a baseball game and I was never very good with bats and balls and so as a kid, of course, that is a big pressure particularly when I grew up in Middle America and sports were the thing. And it was not my thing though and I suffered because of that and sometimes publicly so.
Brett: Even though you might not have that particular story. We have all in some way had some kind of shame laid on us that feels like, you know, I did not deserve that. It is like, not my fault that I was not that good. I did not have, you know, grow up in those supporting family and did not have people around me to help me on. I was kind on my own and so the point is that is true for a lot of us in some way. We have all and so the point is that is true for a lot of us. We have all had similar experiences. If you start to look through the list of the things that every single person that is a human which is every single person, right? Has in common with us. What is it like to be sad? What is it like to have your heart broken? What is it like to believe in something? Then, no matter who you meet, they know those things too.
Brett: You do not have to have a word out of their mouth before you know a great deal about a person’s experience because we share a common humanity. And my question to you and to the world is, if you talk to someone from that point of view, that is what is going on in you, you are looking at someone you are going. “Oh, here is another human. We are a lot alike.” Now, I do not mean to dismiss the differences because there are substantial differences, but you start with, “We are a lot alike.”
Brett: If you start with that, does that change the conversation? Does that make something different possible? Maybe something better. That is getting to the heart of what I call the “Language of Mindfulness” and it is what this series is all about. Now, this whole notion I have just talked about is one technique I call the “big picture” is just one of many techniques will be talking about beginning to establish a frame, a framework, a point of view from which you can engage other people in a way that makes a deeper more meaningful, more connected conversation possible. And that gives you a better experience in the moment. So as you walk away feeling, “Oh, wow that felt great.” That felt really nourishing and connected and if it does not, it is not because you were there for that possibility. Obviously, you can be mindful and present do all the right things and that does not mean that someone else is going to participate in that. But if they do not, it is not because you were not there for it. You cannot obviously be that way all the time, but you can at least turn up the dial on how often that becomes possible. It becomes better. It becomes more common experience and there are steps and stages along the way.
Brett: So I invite you to check out the website languageofmindfulness.com, sign up for the newsletter, subscribe to the podcast. We are going to have a great time here talking with some amazing people. It is not going to just be mean riffing on things. Although I could do that, and I probably will and I am really psyched about this and I hope you enjoyed this. If you did, please leave a review and let me know you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and happy to reply and answer your questions in the next edition. We will be talking about how this all got started with two TEDx talks. Not one, but two that got canceled last year on The Language of Mindfulness, and we will be talking with a guy who helped me get all that started. It is going to be great. So that is a wrap for our first-ever Language of Mindfulness podcast. Hope you enjoyed it. Please give us a ranking if you did.
Brett: And head on over to languageofmindfulness.com to check out what we are up to schedule a free coaching session or download our PDF form “8 Ways to be More Mindful during a Virtual Meeting”. Lord knows we need that these days. We will see you next time. This is Brett Hill. Thanks.