Have you ever had an insight that made you re-examine a past conversation in a radically new way? That made you think, “If I had known this before, I would have behaved differently”?
Transparent, clear communication is often difficult to achieve. Being able to state our thoughts, feelings, intent and requests candidly, with neither arrogance nor apology is an art we all continue to learn with experience.
It is human nature to desire connection. The irony is that it is a sense of ‘self’ that seeks to meet another, but the more we are locked in the perspective of this ‘self’, the greater the separation from ‘another’. So how does one move out of one’s own limited point of view and see things from a fresh angle in the present moment? Here are 4 re-minder questions and their corresponding cues. By using these single word prompts, we can halt the agitated train of thoughts and instantly open up new ways of connecting.
1. How am I seeing this and why?
With this we intentionally develop a greater degree of self-awareness. Being conscious minimizes our own contribution to any misunderstandings. Imagining that you are breathing in and out of your heart helps establish heart coherence. As we all respond to not only the words, tone and body language, but also to the energies of the other person, heart coherence can play a pivotal role in inviting a healthy, open dialogue.
2. How is the other perceiving this and why?
Next we look to notice what’s happening with the other person. We have all experienced how inner conflict and or acute emotions can cloud our communication abilities. For example we can sound angry when we are fearful and appear aloof when we are hurt. There is possibly an underlying need or request from the other that we may be missing. We tend to take things personally and react to that. But in reality, the other person’s health, wellbeing, history, conditioning and so many other factors are at play. Besides, the same words can hold a different memory, meaning or emotional charge for each of us. (Eg.: A teenager may use slang casually, but an elder may take it as a deliberate insult.) Instead of letting the apparent distract you, look for the less obvious. “Translate” is thus a useful reminder to look to understand what the other is actually trying to convey. I call it ‘a magical spell’ because it miraculously transforms my stance to a more open, flexible and compassionate state.
How to activate this cue for yourself:
Essentially, we create an anchor/auditory command to instantly re-mind ourselves. For some, simply reading this and setting the intent will be enough.
Or you can use the Karate Chop point (from EFT) as it helps us memorize things more easily: So tapping on the side of your hand, say aloud: “When I use ‘Translate’, I remember not to take this personally; to notice and acknowledge the other’s perspective, feelings and underlying intent without judgment, to receive this information and respond with as much wisdom and kindness as I can.” Repeat this 3 times.
Now the next time you find yourself in a trying situation, all you need to do is take a deep breath and internally say, “Translate!” This is a wonderfully simple, effective way to immediately experience a whole new dynamic. It raises the vibe of the interaction from between the personas’(more convoluted) viewpoint to that between the ‘higher selves’, or those parts of us with higher wisdom and awareness.
3.How can I see this differently?
‘Breathe’ and ‘Translate’ enable us to understand the current event and all concerned better. Where a single conclusion had been drawn before, other explanations become more plausible now. With ‘Reframe’, we deliberately choose to rewrite the ‘story’ we have around the relationship or recurring behaviors in a way that highlights aspects we may have missed before. For eg. Instead of the story, ‘she always pulls me down, she is jealous of my success’ you may find yourself reviewing your friend’s consistent ‘criticism’ as ‘she is so protective and supportive, trying to help me be my best’. Or, ‘her criticism has been remarkable for my growing attention to detail’. Deliberately seeking different understanding changes our response and new possibilities open up, where none may have been viable before. Hence, ‘Reframe’ in itself can be quite transformational.
However, we can take this to a breakthrough level by invoking prayer: Grace is enabled by the acknowledgment of the divine. I personally believe that sacred relationships always involve a third element, a higher presence if you will. And the next question is based on this premise.
This question and cue emerged in conversation with my wise friend, Erica Taraporevala (another practitioner of mindfulness). Several synchronicities led us to discuss Lesson 130 from ‘A Course In Miracles (ACIM)’, which states: “It is impossible to see two worlds.”
The Lesson explains:
“What you see reflects your thinking. And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see.
Fear has made everything you think you see. All separation, all distinctions, and the multitude of differences you believe make up the world. They are not there.
Begin your searching for the other world by asking for a strength beyond your own, and recognizing what it is you seek. You do not want illusions.”*
We surmised that the lesson asks us to look at the personal stories we have created around our experience and to re-interpret them from a far more universal, timeless understanding: To see from a place of truth, love and acceptance, rather than illusion, fear and resistance.
It was also obvious to us that it can be difficult to see beyond the veils of our persistent story. However, Erica and I like to apply teachings that appeal to us in the context of our daily lives. So when I shared my previous 3 cues with her, she wondered if we could experiment with another anchor, as we do with ‘Translate’. This time, bearing in mind the quotes given above, the prayerful intent of the cue would be to “Re-interpret the happenings and the story in the outer world in a way that I be aware of what Source is pointing towards.” (You can replace Source with God, Holy Spirit, or Universe as per your belief system.)
For all our profound discussions, the two of us do retain a sense of humor and playfulness. As Erica is concurrently immersed in a happy reading of Harry Potter, she said it would sound more fun in Latin. And so ‘Interpretantur’ was chosen as our new ‘spell’. Consequently, the question and cue:
4. How does Source view this and what can I learn from that?
First set up the command as described for ‘Translate’. Once you have re-minded yourself to ‘Breathe’, you can try to ‘Translate’ and ‘Reframe’, or directly say ‘Interpretantur’ in your mind. Some who have tried this are amazed at the changes that ensue. It is like the beautiful revelation in a kaleidoscope pattern brought about by a gentle movement in our holding position.
Here is one example: A friend, say M, has had a troubled relationship with her mother. For years, she felt alienated and misunderstood. But life being the way it is, she is caring for her in her old age, while the other children are only occasional visitors. When a recent visit from a sister triggered the inner child’s frustration and anger, M first breathed consciously to control her outburst. She then went straight to ‘Interpretantur’.
She reports that she felt an instantaneous shift. From finding the situation hopeless and unfair, she suddenly thought, “In my childhood, my mother was a different person. She was grappling with her own emotions, conditions. She saw me as a potentially disruptive influence on her other children and did what she had to out of her fear. Today she has grown, as have I. Because I was left alone for so long, I could explore more, become stronger and more independent. By being brought together now, we have been able to understand and know each other far better than was possible then. This situation is not an imposition but a blessing.” She added, “It is one thing to describe these things intellectually. But ‘Interpretantur’ got me to know it, in one miraculous moment. Amazing.”
As in prayer, the intent and usage infuse the cues with energy. A common understanding or agreement on what they mean to us strengthens their efficacy. As more accounts of such epiphanies came about, we decided to share this publicly. We invite you to try the cues for yourself and write in with your experience. And if you found this article useful, please share it with others. Wouldn’t we all enjoy a world with kinder and clearer communication?
*Additional Note: A related section, Chapter 5 (ACIM) on healing and wholeness says,“1. The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the re-interpreter of what the ego made, sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home. 2. The Holy Spirit must perceive time, and reinterpret it into the timeless. 3. He must work through opposites, because He must work with and for a mind that is in opposition. 4. Correct and learn, and be open to learning. 5. You have not made truth, but truth can still set you free. 6. Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands.”