Posted On 31 Jan 2011
Other people are important to you. The better your conversational skills, the more frictionless your social intercourse will be.
You are the most important ingredient you bring to any conversation. This post is not about some clever trick to con others into liking you more.
It’s really about how to enable others more effectively.
This way to improve your conversational skills builds on the material from a previous post, namely, “Life Energy.” (To read it, just click on “Spiritual well-being” in the menu on the left and then on “Life Energy” in the list of topics.)
The method is simple. First, practice feeling your life energy until you get good at it. Second, remember to practice it during conversations.
This method is counter-intuitive. The best way to be a good conversationalist is to be a good listener by paying attention to what someone else is saying. (Instead, what we often do is to formulate what we are going to say next.) So how could paying attention to your own life energy be helpful?
It’s because you are breaking the normal concern with your own body and mind in favor of the present moment.
Normally, you think of your body using your mind. For example, you think of your body as being beautiful or ugly, strong or weak, or fit or fat. You are thinking of your body as if you are outside it! You are thinking of your body as if you lived a short distance away from it.
You don’t. By practicing being aware of your life energy, you are bypassing your ordinary mind. Instead of thinking about your body, you are experiencing it directly.
What does this have to do with conversational skills? As in all breathing (spiritual) practices, you are returning to life as it is lived in the present moment.
Ego is the source of all suffering. Ego is separation from the present moment. Engaging in the life energy practice, therefore, undermines ego. Instead of identifying with what you think about, you are directly experiencing life in the present moment. You are practicing being present.
When it comes to conversational skills, do you want to converse with someone who is engaged with you in the present moment or with someone who isn’t? Well, others are the same way.
The life energy practice undermines your usual identifications. It opens you up to life as it is unfolding right now. The more aware you are of what is unfolding now, the less egocentric you are. The less egocentric you are, the better your conversational skills will naturally be.
This is an important example of how having an effective spiritual practice can dramatically improve the quality of everyday life.
The idea of using it to improve conversational skills is not original. I got it from Eckhart Tolle’s excellent A NEW EARTH.
I encourage you to test it for yourself to discover how effective it is at enhancing your conversational skills. I predict you’ll be glad that you did.