Detox your conversations
The way you communicate both reflects and affects the way you think. Your thoughts affect your physiology, in fact. Science has unequivocally shown that your psychology interacts with your nervous, hormone and immune systems. For example, watching TV can subject your body to a rollercoaster of emotional and energetic states, from horror and sadness to romantic swooning, simply through your mind’s engagement with the flickering lights dancing across the screen. This evidence is the result of a convergent science called psycho-neuroendocrinology or –immunology (PNI), which essentially also validates many of the New Age concepts regarding the powers of your mind.
Interestingly, this thinking is echoed in the pioneering Nature Cure doctors’ advice about healthy mental activity. In Nature Cure, written in 1913, Henry Lindlahr describes the importance of “mental therapeutics” and how harmonious vibratory influences caused by “correct” thinking — aligning with love, hope, faith, cheerfulness, sympathy and altruism — enable the human to open to the inflow and action of the vital energies, or the “vital healing force” that naturopathy is based on.
The average human experiences discordant, not harmonious, functioning of their 50–75 trillion (or so) cells.
Most of contemporary Western civilisation is suffering suboptimal health, not to mention the pathological epidemics of obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The average human experiences discordant, not harmonious, functioning of their 50–75 trillion (or so) cells. As a race, we are not delighting daily in the vital energies that enliven and surround us.
There is, of course, a multitude of factors that contribute to this less-than-optimal state of existence. One factor to consider is the level of violence and “toxicity” in our accepted communication patterns.
Violence is so common in our communication patterns that it’s considered “normal”. The general tone of the public voice (through mainstream media channels) is not a nurturing one that encourages what is alive and meaningful, but actually one that drives home either inadequacy or success and superiority. Our language is littered with subliminal put-downs or ego-building comments.
Marshall Rosenberg, who pioneered Nonviolent Communication, suggests that 8000 years ago, around the time that writing began, our manner of communicating shifted to coerce the majority of people to work and serve a small minority. Inherent in communication now is the concept of reward or punishment. It lacks the capacity to accept the present and doesn’t value why things are important to us, nor recognise what our true needs and longings are.
How we learn to communicate and think is a result of our socialisation and education, and we often don’t give it a second thought. This communication includes how we talk to ourselves as much as how we speak to each other. We continue to replicate the thinking patterns of the past and, consequently, we retard the creation of a future in which we could be thriving and peaceful. Indeed, the wars that rage throughout the world could well be defused by a change in communication practice and the “holding of space” to enquire and recognise what each party’s true needs are. These needs are often very similar. For example, the universal human need for safety. Marshall Rosenberg’s work provides many cues on how to navigate out of the argumentative quagmires our globe gets bogged down in.
YouTube provides many insights into his approach to communication. I recently attended a workshop on dialogue run by Michael Hahn of The Talking Stick, where a range of communication models was presented and experienced. I came to understand what dialogue is. It is the act of thinking together. Not the act of downloading one person’s thinking or debating a stance or discussing and negotiating a compromise, but the communication process that values and uses the collective knowledge as a platform from which to enable the creation of a new solution and a new way of thinking.
In both individual and international Forums, we desperately need a way to crack the entrenched moulds of the unhealthy and destructive systems we function in. The Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Pope Francis and many other world leaders are calling for a dialogic platform that helps to build bridges of understanding to enable transformative, reflective, ethical decision making. On a personal level, this process of dialogue can also help to move more towards the energy that is life-affirming, inspiring and inclusive.
If you are being influenced by harmonious communication during your interactions, you feel happy. You don’t need to consume anything. Any drive to disrupt others (to abate your own pain) is diminished. When we’re happy, we go with life and we celebrate. We can surrender into utter awe and amazement and be open to the creative energies manifesting in that flow. We can let go of the toxic, stale paradigms that have bequeathed us toxic body-burdens and live in a paradigm that meets the current moment in a harmonious, alive way.
At the very least, watch TV that inspires you.