Recently I was speaking to someone from Bihar- which historically was one of the most developed regions in India. Several ancient Greek, Chinese as well as other scientists and philosophers came to study at the famous Nalanda University. The Bodhi tree where Siddhartha achieved his enlightenment and became Gautama- The Buddha is also in this state. There are so many other historically significant and amazing things about this state. BUT, by the same token, sadly over the more recent history, this once glorious state has been reduced from it’s once fame to more ‘notoriety’ because of increase in poverty, crime, and in general impoverishment of its residents!
As someone, who is more aware of this ‘de-famed’ region did not know that over the last 5 to 10 years, things have drastically improved in the state. Bihar was always famous for its rich natural resources and with good governance and leadership, it is rapidly developing and catching up to again being an economically (and culturally) developed region of India.
It was a personal chat. I could sense his dissonance and explained to him how my notions were old, as I had been living outside India for a long time. We chatted some more and he helped me to gain a better perspective of today’s modern and developed (or should I say- revived) Bihar! BUT it also made me think on how conversations typically go.
We all hear and speak from our memory and our experience of life. The other person is interpreting it from their experience and knowledge and many a times there is a ‘difference’ that we never seem to stop and account for!!
We humans learn and operate based on memory!! If I was to say “apple”- the reason you understand what I mean is because, somewhere in your mind, you saw a “juicy red apple”.
Now as humans we relate with such patterns all the time. When it is something objective (like an apple), it gets comparatively easier- because I could say a sweet apple and if you were thinking of tart-apple, then you would question saying- hey apples are not sweet, they are tarty… then I will explain- how I meant the red Gala apples and we would be all good!!
When we are conscious of the possibility that “what I understand may not be what he or she is saying”- then it allows us to be more humble in our approach. Then we can be more inquiring into what someone is really saying, what they are trying to convey!
Conscious Listening can surely help to cut down on many arguments and miscommunications!! Also, it can help us to really observe and understand people, situations and things as they are and not as per our own ‘preconceived ideas and notions’.
Conscious Listening can help us to take practical steps in mitigating our usual ‘karmic’ way of experiencing, interacting and interpreting all that happens around us!!