Finding Shangri La: Responsible Conversation

In an age where we are bombarded with a constant barrage of noise, crowds and media, it is easy to absorb styles of speaking that can be detrimental to our success and even our health. All around, people are recounting stories of tragedy, life-threatening illnesses, accidents, injuries and violence.  Often times, this is the fodder for the subject matter that is offered to us during our lunch, or any peaceful moment we have in which to refresh ourselves.  Most of us have events in our lives that we are very happy to leave in the past, with each successive passing year fading it from our memory where it ceases to have the same deep impact on us.  Yet, it is inevitable that at some point we’ll see a friend for the first time in years, during what should be a lovely luncheon, only to have them dredge up this unsavory event from our past that we long to let drift back far behind the diminishing event horizon.  Our stomach goes into a knot, our hair stands up on the back of our necks, we stiffen, we feel angry or hurt, asking ourselves why a friend would even think of bringing up such a painful memory.  We must all learn to be tender about the feelings of others in our conversations, particularly not to bring to the surface old painful memories, unbidden.  We must keep the energy during mealtimes clean and clear of talk that conjures up images that are not suitable at the table.  When we’re on the telephone with a friend or co-worker, we cannot see if, perhaps, they are eating and this should be thought about before engaging into a nerve-wracking or gruesome discussion.  Be careful about how you speak to others.  Be mindful of their time, their feelings.  Leave some quiet, empty space in between sentences.  Avoid streaming words in rapid succession so that you are out of breath and your friend is out of patience or struggling to follow what you are saying.  If they look as if they are trying to retreat away from you or they cross their arms in front of themselves or sit bolt upright, you can read this body language to mean that you have struck a nerve and they want to get away from you.  Don’t set yourself up for that. Make the talk meaningful to your fellow con versants. A conversation is just that—a conversation.  That means that it doesn’t include an interrogation of their personal lives.  If they have something to share, they will do just that.  It means that it is a two way interaction predicated on the idea that you will both share points of interest, goals, insights, creative solutions, and so on.  In this way, when the talk concludes, you will both feel uplifted and look forward to the next time.  This kind of conversation is a form of mantra.  Believe…….
Acharya Sri Khadi Madama is available for "Finding Shangri La" Workshops, Consulting and Coaching to help you apply these principles in your personal and professional life, based on the concepts in her book, Finding Shangri La: Seven Yoga Principles for Creating Success & Happiness, available at Barnes & Noble, Borders Books , and your favorite bookstore.

You may also visit her web site at

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