Beneath the Words
Some time back I had a conversation with a client who was telling me about something that had happened to her. I listened to what she had to say and then suggested that perhaps it wasn’t the specific event that was the point. The point was that the story she told was about her deep desire for connection. Both with the person she had been speaking with, but more importantly the connection with herself.
She was struggling to understand her own behavior; she wanted to feel that he friend understood her and that she was being true to herself. We all want that. We all want to feel that the people in our lives, especially those who most matter to us, “get” us; that they understand the essence of who we are. We want to know that they see us.
The catch here is that to feel deeply seen we first have to see ourselves. We have to have at least some sense of who it is that we are trying to share with others. Sometimes the best we can do is knowing who we are not. Either way, the thing we need to do is listen beneath the words we say to the feelings we hold.
We are trained to use words for everything, but words are inadequate to express the breadth of who we are. It takes time and effort to know what we really feel and not what we “think” we should feel. After all, people tell us all the time what they want from us, how they want us to be, what they want us to do, how they want us to feel. To hear our own voice we have to shut out the other voices, at least for a little while.
Remember that person you fell in love with and how you could spend hours together with little or no conversation? There was a connection that went beyond language, and that place was beautiful and peaceful.
Or what about the time you went for a long walk on the beach, just you? For a while there may have been a conversation running in your head but, at some point, your mind likely became quiet. Do you remember how restored you felt after experiencing that silence? That is the place you get to when you listen beneath the words.
It’s in that quiet place that we can hear the stories that are most meaningful to us. It’s in that quiet place that we can hear our dreams for the future calling to us. It’s in that quiet place that we meet our truest self.
How we find that place beneath words whether by meditation, exercise, listening to classical music, or washing the dishes, doesn’t matter. Finding it does. Finding that place connects us to our core. Finding that place leads us to our truth, our wisdom, and, ultimately, to the deep connection that comes when we know who we are so we can truly share ourself with others.
If you think that you’ve never experienced that place think back to the sunset that left you standing in awe, unable to say a word. Or the thing you heard that was so jaw droppingly stupid that you were speechless. Remember, also, the times you have known for a certainty beyond words that something, or someone, was absolutely right for you.
So find that place beneath the words where you just know. Where your mind doesn’t run you around like a hamster on a wheel. Where you don’t need to ask someone else what they think because who you are, and what you need todo, are clear.
That place of connection, of profound knowing, is right there for you when you listen beneath the words.