How To Be More Present: Mindful Conversation

University Life 78

Mindful conversation is about being fully present in a conversation. When you are engaged on a mindful conversation, your whole attention is concentrated in what the speaker is saying. You loose contact with your worries and engage completely in the current situation. Mindful conversation is like a meditation, but where the object of meditation is not the breathing but the other person you are talking to.

Mindful conversation has an amazing effect in your life. First, you will live more in the now, and as you know, by living the present moment your stress will be reduced. Second, the people you talk to will feel like you are in the conversation, listening to them, hence you are taking them into account. They will feel very good with you and you will bring them joy.

Hence, the purpose of this special meditation is twofold: to embed meditation in your daily life and to bring joy to the lifes of others.

The Technique

It consists of three steps that must be done in a sequence:

First step: mindful listening

Adopt a generous attitude towards the person you are listening to, by giving your full attention to him. If you detect that your attention wanders away, just return it back to the speaker, without any angry or regret.

Avoid as much as possible to think about what you believe about the words of the speaker. Just listen to them and try to sincerely understand what he is explaining. Refrain from asking questions or interrupting the speaker.

You can nod with your head to express that you are following his argument, but do not lead the speaker with your head movements or facial expressions.

Second step: looping + dipping

Once the speaker has finished his argument or story, then it is your turn to express to him what you understood from his speech. You should use your own words to express what you understood, in order to make your speaker know how his message went to you.

It may happen that you missunderstood something, and by expressing your understanding, your speaker detects the error. If that is the case, allow the speaker to express again what he meant.

Repeat the whole process until you both are satisfied of the message communicated.

During the whole process, pay attention to yourself, what you feel, what you think, the tensions of your body, the internal chatter in your mind. Do not get distracted by those thoughts, do not judge them, just be aware of them.

Third step: mindfully replying

Once its is your turn to express your opinion to the matter, look for it from the bottom of your mind. Do not express an opinion that is merely reactive to what the speaker said. How to do that? Just observe what you would like to say before saying it. Have a sincere look at it and determine if that is a proper answer or just a reaction to what he said. You have to judge with a full consciousness if the answer is a valid one to the current situation or just a mere reaction.

This step is difficult to express but it is easier to feel when you are at the situation. Just take a small break before answering to considering the nature of what you would like to say and if you observe that it is just a reaction, acknowledge it, do not repress it, but decide whether to say it or not.

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The Workout

Perform the following workout along a week when interacting with 1 person during your day. Repeat the workout in the next weeks, increasing in 1 person more, the number of conversations that you will have mindfully during the day. Keep increasing the number of people every week, until all your conversations along the day are done mindfully.

  • Begin the conversation listening to what he says. Apply all your attention to what the person says, do not judge and do not think about what you are going to says next.
  • Then, when the other person has expressed his view about the conversation subject, repeat back what you heard in a sentence that adapts what you understood.
  • Then, feel your answer to his words from inside you and express your opinion.
  • During the whole process, observe your thoughts, and your body for tensions, criticisms, judgements or any urge to reply to your . If you detect that tensions, emotions or thoughts appear on yourself, do not worry, and gently return your attention to what your talker is saying.
  • Repeat the first step until the conversation is done.

 Conclusion

Practising mindful conversation will make you live more in the present and reduce the stress in your life. As a side effect, it will improve your relations will others, since they will feel you closer to them.

If you wan to know more…

The following books deal with this subject among other meditation subjects.

photo credit: francisco_osorio via photopin cc

photo credit: Barack Obama via photopin cc

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