SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you feel about the absence of coercion and 'should' thinking being an important context for cultivating organic and genuine desire to care for another? Can you share a personal story of a time you made an internal shift from 'I should' to 'I want to... because I...'? What helps you access desire so deeply that it can serve as a loving motivation?
There are few incidences that I can co-relate with this mindset, especially that I had witnessed when it case in the contact of 'my-self'. It was way back when I was in my engineering. Almost 25 years ago. I hail from a medium income family. The engineering fees, my hostel expenses, books and apparatus expenses, food expenses and other incidental expenses were perceptibly high in the context of my parents' earnings.
"I should clear each semester exam for all 8 semester with minimum first class in all subject" - is one way of expression. However, I distinctly remember the self talk then I had. The expression inside; throughout my engineering studies tenure was "I want achieve first class in each subject for all the semester, because this is the least possible way that I can respect my parents' trust on me and to express my love n caring for them by this action". :-) It works ...!
The most important aspect in this is that "I, me, my, mine" gets fade-off. Pure enjoyment is what I sought.
I feel that replacing of 'coercion' and 'should' mindset with trust hall make such a huge difference. I feel like going back in time and doing so in incidents where I have been coercive with others or myself.
"My mother called me multiple times everyday and sometimes I talked feeling that 'i should attend her call'. The quality was however deteriorated in calls when frustration became obvious.
On the other hand, when she didn't call, I used to get worried whether she was ok.
Hence, one day I sat down in silence and thought about it..........
I realized that I really needed to hear from her daily as I loved her. Its only the frequency and her questions that bothered me.
That day, I explained to her that I would like to talk to her when I can give few minutes and not on the run. She understood my point for first time.
After that our calls are lesser in frequency (still couple of times a day) but good in quality."
Love helps me access desire deeply and motivates me!
Just minutes ago, I made few batches of buttered popcorn and a ham and cheese platter ( with crackers, of course) for my son and his visiting friends. They never ask me, I offer ... Not because "I should" but because next summer this group of boys will be off to college! Though it is late and I was tired, the effort was so worth it! As I will never be able to relive this day, loving "my boys" is what I do because He first loved me. It's all about "modeling" in His Spirit.
I've been noticing regularly this shift in inner dialogue more frequently the more I do it...compounding upon itself...nice and feels good.
It's hard for me to believe that the interaction between Inbal and her son happened, especially since he was only 3 1/2 yrs old, but I want to believe it and certainly believe it is possible. It is so different than the kind of interacting that goes on in our violent and coercive society. Coercion means forced, and should means obligation, both of which mean absence of free choice. I do believe absence of coercion and should thinking provides a context for cultivating genuine desire to care for one another. Absence of coercion and should thinking opens me to consider what I want and what is best for all involved. It's been a long time ago that I shifted away from 'I should' thinking and moved to focus on what I am thinking, feeling, wanting, willing, choosing, refusing. I think of 'should' thinking as a way of telling myself I'm not free, I'm powerless, and that's toxic, so I've pretty much given it up. Instead of I 'should' get up, go to work, call my mother, pay my taxes, etc, I get up, go to work, call my mother, pay my taxes, etc. Inserting 'should' is self-diminishing. Knowing that we are one serves as a loving motivation t do what is best for all.[Hide Full Comment]
This relationship dialogue rings bell in my ears. I have learned to make a shift consciously from I should or you should to I would like me to or I would like you to followed by a rational good reason statement.. Words matter. What I say and how I say has a great impact on me as well as another person involved in the transaction. The word Mindfulness is a very important word in the dictionary of my relationship and interpersonal communication. The word "should" connotes demand, not a request. Demand causes a gap or disconnect between two people involved in the situation. Remaining connected with each other is crucial for interpersonal communication and relationship. We can be authentic. respectful, and empathetic or compassionate in our communication. Such communication builds bridges and not walls, cooperation and collaboration, and not divisiveness. and non co-operation.
I would like to present the significance of the intrapersonal communication to cultivate the skills of interpersonal communication. What I say and how I say to the other person is the reflection of what I say and how I say to myself. It is from the inside out. I find this mindfulness way of communication within and without very helpful. I counsel children, couples and families.The first thing I teach them is how to be aware of the impact of the other person's verbal and non verbal behavior on them selves. I teach them to attend to what arises in their mind,-disturbing thoughts and feelings and feel their bodily sensations- without judging them and with empathy. You do not fight them, resist them, chase them, cling to them or stuck with them. You need to be free from holding on to or reacting to such thoughts and feelings.Once we clear up the heavy clouds in our mind and body, the compassionate,kind,caring and loving part of ourselves comes out. We get a better and clearer understanding and insight about the difficult conditions disrupting the relationship.It is self introspective work. Such mindfulness work is essential for personal, interpersonal and familial well being. It's an ongoing journey expanding and deepening our intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships.
May we create silence within ourselves to listen to ourselves and to others with an open mind and a kind heart!
Jagdish P Dave