Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.
and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
We make sense of our world. With our senses. Same word.
When we remove a sense, the sense we make is different. Developing our ability to use them all in harmony is useful. Don’t just listen, when you can feel what is being said. Don’t just see, when you can hear with your heart.
Make all the sense you can.
How big are your ears?
I don’t mean are the lobes oversized, or is the general scale of your listening instruments out of proportion to your face.
I mean what do you hear?
Do you hear some of the words spoken to you? Do you hear all of the words? Do you hear the meaning underneath the words? Do you make sense of the meaning you hear? Do you hear the tone, pitch, pace of the speaker? Do you hear the expression, the phrasing? Do you detect the strength or fragility in their voice? Do you hear the colour of their face? Do you hear the eye movements that accompany the sentences? Do you hear the angle of their head? Do you hear their physiology – their arm and leg movements, their shoulders, hands, fingers? Do you hear their breathing? Do you hear their heartbeat?
I sat the other day with about fifteen like minded people.
We were invited to share something we wanted more of in our lives.
We were sitting in a circle.
I have on several occasions been invited to share my story or something significant about me in a group environment. The most successful of these has always been in a circle, facing each other. It is no accident that village elders often sit in a circle; indeed many cultures do this. Sitting in circles, around a fire, in a yurt, on the desert floor. Children often do it in our primary schools at reading time.
Seeing the faces of the speaker and your fellow listeners builds a bond, draws you to the story, generates a trusting, safe environment. Nobody is in a position of power, authority, dominance. Or in a position of inferiority, subjugation, minority. Everyone is equal.
Strange then that in our places of work, many meeting tables are square or oblong and we are so often organised in rows. Face to face, back to back, side to side.
No wonder we find it hard to be heard.
In today’s busy world, who is there to listen?
It seems all around the world ordinary people don’t feel heard by their politicians. The people they elect to listen and respond to concerns, to basic social needs, seem not to be listening. For large groups, the church might historically have offered an ear, but many no longer look that way.
There seems to be a void.
In extreme cases it seems terrorism and extremism offer a solution but what about the masses? The everyday struggling human being seeking something more mainstream? Who will listen to them?
I wonder what new roles might emerge to fill the gap?
Is there a role for business? A role for health professionals? A role for charity? A role for new forms of social collective? A role for individuals?
Someone needs to listen. Society needs to listen.
We all need to be heard.
Being listened to, has amazing properties.
When we need to be heard, and someone makes time, it feels like a gift. The gift of attention. It makes us feel special. Helps us make sense of our own thinking. Connects us to our own feelings. It’s cathartic. Warming. Connecting. It sets us on an even keel again. Able to move forward once more.
Being listened to, however, requires a listener.
Often a good one. One who listens. One who hears. Little, if any, interruption.
All too often though as the potential listener, we don’t pay attention to this gift giving capability. We are too busy. In our own world. We move on, neglecting. Not because we don’t care, but often because we just don’t value sufficiently the benefit of listening to another person. We are captured by our own selfish need. Our priorities. Our world, in that moment, is worth more than the world of the listened to. So we interject, we opinion give, or we don’t even see that the listened to seeks to be listened to.
We should stand regularly in the listened to space and remember its gifts.
From there, step across. Stand more frequently in the listener space. Give gifts back. Gifts to others. To those who need to be listened to.
There’s a man eating a pasty, maybe fifteen feet from me.
I can smell it. A slightly sweet aroma. I can feel the sensations of a bite of the piping hot food in my mouth. I can sense my slight open mouthed panting, as air is used to cool that bite to a temperature for swallow. I can taste the meaty, gooey mouthful, mixed with crumbly buttery pastry. I can taste the slightly peppery warmth.
There’s something strangely primal about holding your food in your hand.
I am instantly transported to my own specific memories of enjoying a pasty. Walking in the street with my family, grabbing lunch on a shopping trip. Numerous glorious holidays in Cornwall. A rushed snack on the way home from somewhere, late. In each memory, the smell of this man’s pasty takes me there. Fully.
Where does a smell take you and how vibrant is that place?
I’m off for a pasty…
Watching Motorsport at Donington Park today.
I’m sitting on a hill in the infield looking at the old hairpin. Cars are weaving down the Craner Curves, jostling for track position into this all important corner.
Meanwhile, I’m listening to the race commentary on the circuit app on my phone. The commentary covers the action elsewhere on the circuit. So I can listen to the incident at Redgate where two cars have entered the gravel trap.
When we go racing we take a camping stove and I’m tucking in to a freshly made egg and bacon roll. The soft yoke has just exploded across my fingers. The smell and taste a sensory delight.
The sun is warming my right ear.
I’m struck by my ability to separate my senses. To see one set of action, hear another, feel the sun and direct my olfactory and gustatory senses to a stomach welcoming culinary classic.
Maybe separating our senses is easier than focusing them all on the same experience? We do it every day. I do wonder what I’m losing as a result though?
Do you know what you know because you read it? Maybe in a text book, an academic study, a newspaper report, on-line in a blog or on social media?
Do you know what you know because someone told you it was true?
These are both verbal exchanges. Auditory. They are spoken, written, heard or read. Stories if you will. The exchange of knowledge through written or spoken communication. Someone else provides their knowing and we hear or read it and accept it as knowledge we will also hold to be true. It is, in a sense, second or third hand knowledge. Knowing we agree to add to our own knowing. Or not.
Our acceptance of this knowing involves an unseen process of convincing. Maybe I accept it because I trust the author. Maybe I trust the method by which their knowledge was acquired? Maybe I trust the method of conveying the knowledge to me?
Do you know what you know because that’s the widely accepted truth?
It’s the word of the society, culture, religion, community, organisation… the word of the system if you will. In a sense, story, tale, myth, evidence become fact, truth, reality through the weight or volume of saying it. If enough people speak something, it tends to absorb a validity or truth amongst others. This is how customs and culture are formed.
Maybe I am convinced of this knowing because I have heard it many times from different sources within the system? Maybe I accept it because doing so affirms my belonging to the group? Maybe the groups I belong to therefore narrow my ability to know?
Do you know what you know because you have assembled a truth, through collecting, filing, connecting new data, new knowing, into your own existing knowing?
I know for example that many people see images in their heads. I know this because I have read about it, I have heard about it in training sessions, I have experienced it through coaching many people who can vividly describe the videos or stills in their mind’s eye, I have personally seen pictures in my own head. I have experimented with this knowing to extend, broaden, widen and deepen it. I have purposefully sought out additional knowing, making sense, making patterns and making new neural connections to create an enriched personal knowing.
Maybe I readily accept this knowing? Convinced because it fits with other knowing I already have?
Maybe what I know already, informs what I seek to know? I am, in a sense, blind to new knowing because my existing knowledge guides and channels me to seek knowing which corroborates knowing I already have.
Do you know what you know because you have experienced it and therefore know it to be true? Do you know what you know because you have seen it? Seen it with your own eyes? Tasted it with your own tongue?
I have tried coriander, and I know I don’t like the taste. I have in a sense created my own personal knowing. Others may also have this knowing; but a hundred, or a thousand people not liking coriander doesn’t make coriander something nobody eats, a poisonous food. We are happy to create our own version of knowing, a personal truth.
In fact through all of these methods, we create our own version of truth, our own subset of knowing.
Whether our knowing comes from historic sages, from trusted texts, from reliable friends, from assembled self knowing, from tasted, smelled or observed personal experience, our knowing comes through a hidden process of filtering, selection and trust which makes our knowing personally true. Often this process makes others’ knowing false as a result. That’s how arguments, wars start.
We should be curious about our own personal process of knowing.
How we know what we know. Our hidden process of validation and acceptance. Our process of exploring knowing to expand and develop it. Learning, if you will. This matters, because if our personal process is flawed, broken in some way; if we are blind to certain pieces of knowing, closed to experiencing certain knowing or inexperienced in different ways of assembling knowing… then we are limited.
If we are limited, we are not fulfilling our human potential.
… and that’s worth knowing.