In any gathering of people (such as a meeting or any conversation), keep the following (not in any particular order) in mind:
a) Know your pattern. Showing off is the biggest pattern we have. (What do you think taking birth is all about? Changing form from the subtle to the gross, becoming visible.) Don’t deny this, don’t plead ignorance – struggle with it and work hard to break this pattern. Open your mouth only if it is to say something that contributes to the conversation.
b) Everyone, literally everyone, actually believes that their idea will benefit everyone else and serve the greater good. Check this before you think that what you had to say is actually a real contribution.
c) Keep the purpose of the meeting in your mind’s eye. Stay focused on the agenda of the moment, what purpose has to be fulfilled. Don’t go on tangents. Come prepared – know what your pattern is.
d) Be precise and concise. The more words you use, the more you blow your trumpet. Verbalize your stuff in your mind first. Keep repeating the same sentence at least 10 times in your mind before you utter it externally. (There’s just one letter missing between utter and gutter.) If, after repeating it 10 times internally, in all honesty, if it still feels (listen to the feeling) that you should go ahead and say it, then say it.
e) Be inclusive. Have an open mind. Take everyone into consideration. Watch yourself falling for the usual stuff of following the leader in the pack and putting down the weaker ones. Go against the powerful and stand up for the underdog. This is not being stated here because it’s very noble to do so, it’s just that you will learn to face your fears and you will discover more about yourself. And the journey back home is through discovery of the real self. And of course, Home is the Real Self. Is there anything more noble than this journey and the destination?
f) When you meet someone, focus on what you try to hide. Therefore, begin to show all sides of yourself. Also, when you don’t show, you forget it yourself. (It will take more work later so better do it now.) We see only a small part of others and ourselves because of limited vision. And the condemnation that comes from us when we see a person’s other sides is what makes us hide ourselves as well because of the fear of that same condemnation.
g) We can’t relate to the other because we can’t relate to ourselves. We eat each other’s energy instead. We see only a part of a person and then, when we see another side, we act surprised and feel the other person was hiding it from us. But it is always us who don’t see the other facets of a person because they don’t fit into our pattern of thinking. Ask yourself – How is it even possible for humans to be different from each other? How can anyone be ‘special’? And isn’t the want to be special the most common? Isn’t it hilarious?
h) Our understanding of the other is based on our understanding of oneself. Understand this – it is our picture projected onto others. It cannot be otherwise. We can’t relate to the other because we focus on the content. We listen to their content so that when it’s our turn, we can talk to our unfulfilled heart’s content. And contentment never happens.
i) In the conversation, make your statements without your usual patterns of voice modulation, facial gestures, eye, hand and body movements. If you feel you will suffocate without these, then make new patterns.
j) Being childish means denying our patterns. Growing up means to become real, to become responsible, to not hide. Every moment, we seek validation for the belief that ‘I am right’. As if you actually created this idea that you hold on to so dearly. As if you can actually create anything. Anything. Be it your own body, your voice, an action, an attitude, the sky, water, the earth, a tree, a thought, a feeling, an animal, a toy, a painting, music, the whole universe – anything. So, grow up.
Get out of yourself and try to find the One who can show you how not to hide, how not to lie. It may take the rest of your life to find that One, but there is no nobler cause and no other way.