Some of the characters in the Chinese language are ideographic in nature i.e. an idea is represented pictorally. One such character is yì (意).
A number of months ago, sitting in an elementary Acupressure Class run by the interesting and knowledgeable Mr Teay of RPA Holistic Academy, this word cropped up. Never having been a very observant student of the chinese language, 20+ years on from my last chinese exam paper where I was more than relieved to scrape by with a pass, I have been developing an appreciation of how the visual conveys the intent (how apt in this case!).
The word itself consists of yīn (音) - sound and xīn (心). When one hears from the heart, does one truly understand one's own or another's purpose.
The Theory & the pitfalls
Advice to use the ladder of inference (put forward by organisational Psychologist Chris Argyris and used by Peter Senge in "The 5th Discipline") to avoid jumping to our own conclusions is nice but how often and how naturally do we self sabotage by lumping on our past experiences, beliefs in the split of a second? An oversimplified example, used here as its not as uncommon as one would like to think, would be how Summer Zervos brushed of Trump's kiss on the lips as "his form of greeting" despite feeling uncomfortable. What was her gut feeling indicating to her at that time and what was the story she concluded on her ladder of inference?
Kajal Pandey writes a lovely article on "Living from your Heart Space". After years of working through my head and working in environments where data is king (despite being able to use data in multiple ways for multiple outcomes), I'm having to unlearn to relearn how to ride the proverbial bicycle of working authentically, agenda free, through the heart space. On the upside, you don't lose the skills permanently, on the downside, it takes time and perseverance (and it can be bloody hard!).
One:Hearing the real intent of others starts with an understanding of your own and wading through the head noise. In any environment, the critical player remains "you" - not he/ she/ they. So start by understanding your own intention - what is the agenda/ expectation you are bringing into the room and see how that could potentially derail you from from seeing things as they are.
Two: Never killed anyone (outside an emergency) to slow down. In the world of rush, fast results are what you often hear is needed. But slowing down, removing the desire to do something, creates space to listen to yourself from the heart.
Three: Your head is not better than your heart: We have both, so why prefer one over the other? Use both even if it means confronting the internal conflict.
Listening from the heart to get the intention - how simply beautiful. This doesn't need to stay in the fuzzy world of the esoteric, spiritual, religious or at the coffee corner. We need to bring it into the everyday.