What Is Communication? Is It Only About Language?
Summary: What is communication really about? What does it take to be an effective communicator? Many communication trainers have emphasized that communication is not only about speaking effectively, but also about ones listening capabilities. But, is communication something even beyond language? Are there other ways you can communicate?
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Why Communication is Key in Life
Sadhguru: There are many ways in which you can communicate with everything in the world. There are some to whom you can communicate what you want with gentle words. There are some to whom you have to speak strongly. Some need an “injection,” depending on the type of “infection” they are suffering from. There are some who will understand if you just look at them. There are some you do not even have to look at – if I sit with eyes closed, they will get it. So, there are different ways to communicate. Which is the best way to communicate? The best way to do it is the way it gets across. Because communication means the other person should get it.
Communication is not just of language. Communication is not just a particular message. Communication is interaction between various forces of life.
For me, language is just a means. I would rather shut up and sit in one place. But then, very few people will get it. So you have to do a lot of talking – sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, sometimes fiery. This is not just between human beings – this applies to everything.
For some people, everything seems to be co-operating with them – the food that they eat, the water that they drink, the air that they breathe, the land that they walk upon, and all the creatures and plants. Everything seems to be co-operating with certain lives. With certain other lives, everything seems to be going against them. It is a question of communication.
Communication is not just of language. Communication is not just a particular message. Communication is interaction between various forces of life. If you hold yourself as an absolute individual, then you are a nutcase that is hard to communicate with. If you understand that you are just a piece of life with the privilege of knowing some sense of individuality, then you are easy to communicate with. This reminds me of an incident that recently happened in the house.
Without Even Asking
Around Mahashivratri, I had a few guests at home, but also a lot of rats and squirrels. I do not mind them, but they were making noises throughout the night running on the tiled roof. I told someone, “If there were two snakes in the garden, they would control all these things.” Then one evening, when I was walking in the garden, a nearly six-foot-long snake showed up. I thought, “That’s good. But why is there only one, not two?”
If you are yoga, not just practicing yoga, you do not even have to ask – what you need just happens.
The next morning, around 10:30, people in the house came to me terrified and said, “Sadhguru, in your bathroom, there is a big snake!” How did he get into my bathroom? We never leave any door open in the house because we have a lot of reptile experience behind us. You open a door, you walk through it, and again close it – this is the rule in the house. The snake had to pass through three doors to get into the bathroom. Somehow, at different times, when a door was open, he must have slipped through and gone into the bathroom. So I picked up the snake and left him outside. I was still wondering, why only one? Then, a little later, another snake showed up – a little smaller one, about four feet long. I said, “Okay, this is good. This is as things should be.”
This is how life is. If you are yoga, not just practicing yoga, you do not even have to ask – what you need just happens. Not just in terms of garden snakes – in every aspect of life. If you ask, you will ask for something that you know. That will be a waste of life. What is the point of a life full of asking for stupid things that you already know? Things that you could not imagine, things that you have no clue about must happen to you – only then life is happening. And in a way, this is all a question of communication.
When I say “communication,” people think in terms of texting or talking on their phone. That is also communication, but that kind of communication will keep the social situation going and nothing more. Social situations can keep you distracted – they cannot leave you fulfilled. Social interactions can keep you distracted and entertained for a while, but they will never work towards your fulfillment, because that is not their nature.
It is important that if you sit here, you are in a profound communication with everything around you. Not saying anything, no particular message, just a profound interaction between you and all that is there. This is yoga. Yoga means union, that when you sit here, your individuality is just a small part – life is a larger part. And life does not happen in drops – it is one big happening.
No Time to Simmer
It is a great privilege that, though we are just a part of this whole thing, life gives you an individual experience. Though we are really nothing, a speck of dust in creation, still we can sit here and feel like an individual. This is the magnanimity of creation. Your ability to communicate and interact with existence depends on how little of an individual you are. You made yourself too big, when actually, in this cosmic space, of which you do not know where it begins and where it ends, we are really nothing, not even a speck. But this speck imagines all kinds of things. And your life is ticking away. In spite of that, you take time to bullshit yourself endlessly about who you are.
Communication is as it is needed in the world. Action is as it is needed in the world. How you are within yourself is another matter.
But you cannot work in the world if you are nothing – you’ve got to be somebody. Someone recently said to me, “Sadhguru, sometimes, these days, you are speaking in a very fiery manner.” I said, “Always.” “No, Sadhguru. Do not do this. It looks like you have lost your cool.” I said, “How can I lose my cool if I have never been cool? I have always been like a volcano within myself, waiting to burst anytime.”
Communication is as it is needed in the world. Action is as it is needed in the world. How you are within yourself is another matter. Look at Adiyogi – full of fire. And look at all the great yogis of the past – they were all full of fire. Only calendar yogis have a benign look on their faces.
Life and its many manifestations need to happen on full fire. There is no time to go on simmer. Only someone who is miserable and constipated in every way finds that life is too long, because they have never found expression to the various possibilities that a human being can be. They are trying to make their lives by accumulating a few things, people, and stupid stuff around them. If you are exploring the immensity of being human, it is a bloody brief life. When it is so brief, it is important you are on full fire. Otherwise, before you realize what is happening, there will be your funeral fire. There will be fire in the end, but that will be too late. Either you go on full fire now, or you go slowly, in installments.
Those who want to get to the infinite in installments – all the best for you. No one ever counted “one, two, three,” and one day arrived at infinity. If you become a zero, if you are simply nothing, then you do not need to do anything else. But then you cannot function in the world. Such a state is also beautiful, but you will need care and support from people around you. But if you want to be fully into it and still be able to function in the world, it is important you are on full fire. That does not mean you have to reveal your fire every time. Once in a way, you can give someone a taste if they deserve it.
Footprints of the Past
Otherwise, the question is not about being cool or hot, peaceful or fiery – the important thing is if whatever is happening within you, is it happening consciously or unconsciously? If consciously, you do whatever you do according to your intelligence or judgment at that moment, it is fine.
The problem arises if you are compulsively getting hot or cold. It is a question of compulsiveness or consciousness. Your fire and your cold water, are they happening because of conscious action, or are they happening because of the compulsive nature that you have developed? “Compulsive” means you are repetitive. “Repetitive” means the past is ruling the present and encroaching into the future.
If the footprint of the past is in the future, this is a terrible life. This is why we can write a “horror”-scope for you and tell you how you are going to live. A horoscope is true only for those who have allowed their past to put its footprint in the future. If you are conscious, you can burn your horoscope. Once you are conscious, the past will not repeat itself. This is most important, that every thought, every emotion, every action, everything that you do is happening in a conscious way. Your ability to be conscious and your ability to communicate with the rest of the universe are essentially the same thing. If even a rat snake is listening, what is the matter with you?
Are You Cut Out for Life?
If you make yourself into a fortress of individuality, and then you try to communicate, it will not work. If you become conscious, you naturally become porous. If you become really conscious, you become transparent. Once you are transparent, everything is through and through.
Either you dissolve your individuality, or we will wear it down for you. Wearing it down is a painful process. If you dissolve it, it will be a wonderful process. Wearing it down takes time. Life wears down people over a period of time, but that is an ugly way to do it. If you want something genuine to happen to you and to the world, this is the place and the time. The only thing is you have to become absolutely genuine. Otherwise, you will be gaping at everything, asking yourself why this or that is happening. If you are a genuine seeker, it does not matter why something is happening. This is not about “What should I get? Should I get enlightened? Should I get this or that?” This is about knowing the nature of your existence in its ultimate capacity.
Because once you have come here with such a big brain, with this much intelligence and awareness, you are supposed to know what this is all about. Before you go, you must know this: “What is the nature of my existence? What are the possibilities?” Whether you are going to explore all of them or not is another matter, but at least you must know what they are. If you want to go untouched by life, the grave is the best place. People keep coming to me, “Sadhguru, please bless me that nothing happens to me.” What kind of blessing is that? My blessing is, “Let everything that is life happen to you.”
The way we are conducting the world, our education, our commerce, we are missing the fundamental point.
As long as you are alive, something will happen. The question is only, are you cut out for life? Are you physically, mentally, consciously equipped to handle this life, whatever happens? “No, Sadhguru, but a terrible thing happened.” No, only life is happening. Someone is born, someone dies, someone is here, someone is gone – this is all that is happening. Some people are doing beautiful things; some people are doing terrible things. This has always been happening. I am not trying to approve all the terrible things that human beings do, but if you want to stop that, you are not going to stop it by law. No matter how much law enforcement you do, people will go on doing these things in so many different ways. The only way the situation can be transformed is when individual human beings transform themselves, when large-scale tools for transformation are available for humanity. Otherwise, you cannot stop all the ugly things that human beings do on this planet.
We do not understand the fundamentals of what it means to be human. We are completely missing the fundamental element of life. The way we are conducting the world, our education, our commerce, we are missing the fundamental point. At least in terms of technologies of communication, we have come to a place where, if we want, we can sit here and communicate with the entire world.
These fantastic tools of communication and the internet itself are being used for the ugliest possible things. Every day, many thousands of children are being sold on the internet, drugs are being transacted, arms are being sold – all kinds of things are happening. Above all, when we start selling our children to do dirty things with somebody, we have really lost it. We have completely lost our humanity. I think the time of going nicely, quietly, like a spiritual organization is expected to do, is over. We have to put this on rocket fire.
Do You Want a Prediction or a Plan?
This has to go on full fire, which we will be doing in the next few months. I want all of you to participate. This movement is about shifting humanity from religion to responsibility. For too long, for all the nasty things we do, we have pointed up. For the good things we do, we have taken credit, of course. Someone got battered today – “It must be God’s will.” This has to go. It is time humanity takes responsibility for what nonsense we are today. And what possibility we are today. We must be willing to take responsibility for both the great things we have done and the ugly things we have done. And what we are going to create tomorrow in this world is also our responsibility.
People keep asking me, “Sadhguru, where do you think the world will be in fifty years?” I ask them, “Do you want a prediction or a plan?” All the idiots who are incapable of a plan are looking for a prediction. The very fact that creation gave you such big brains and the possibility to create many things means that you are supposed to have a good plan, rather than wait for a stupid prediction. The question is where are we going? For this to happen, you need to empower human beings beyond their body, beyond their mind. Something bigger needs to touch them. That is the basic effort of what we are doing. I want things fully on.