Putting All Potential Responses Back on The Table

As you might have noticed, communicating your experience to other people is an area of extraordinary nuance. While systems and principles are useful, the complexity of how your conditioning, the other person's conditioning, and the situation interrelate is virtually infinite.

Stated simply: what is the exact right thing to say to one person, in a certain moment, about a certain issue, is the exact wrong thing to say at another time. This is true within a single relationship, let alone with different people!

The deep nuances involved in interpersonal communication call for tremendous fluidity. Fluidity is a core aspect of wisdom as it manifests at the level of the personality structure.

What does fluidity look and feel like?

It feels like all potential responses to the situation are available.

It feels like a space pregnant with potential. Who knows what presence will do?

  • It might instruct us to remain silent with the simple knowing that "now is not the time for feedback."

  • It might draw a firm boundary around not doing something, but without blaming.

  • It might take responsibility for our role in the situation, but give clear, unambiguous feedback about the dynamic the other person brought. It will do this with direct observation and without "drama." It will then be open to what the other person's experience is.

  • It might "own" an aspect of conditioning, or some form of unconscious behavior, but it will do this without guilt (guilt may arise, but it will be witnessed and seen as further suffering).

  • It might tell the exact truth of how we feel, but without unconsciously pressuring the other person to take care of us.

A lot of our work at the level of relating is about repairing the facets of the personality where we don't have fluidity. The parts that we can't "tune in" to or access easily when responding to others. The parts that we were told were a "no-no" to explore.

  • Maybe we habitually avoid conflict, so our "no" is underdeveloped. Or our sense of being clear and specific about what we want.

  • Maybe we habitually engage in conflict, so our ability to empathically listen and take in other people's experience is underdeveloped. Or our ability to read what other people are feeling. Or our ability to attune to energy of different situations and kinds of people.

In our way of thinking, conditioning is a synonym for resources within the self that have not yet been integrated. If (for instance) we've been taught that "nobody wants to hear how we feel," all of the resources connected with being able to express that aspect of ourselves are "cut off."

As we enter, again and again, into presence in the interpersonal context, our "menu of options" for responding expands. We are less and less limited by our conditioned playbook and more and more open to expressing facets of our nature which once seemed foreign, risky or out of reach.

Sacred ConductCM