Closing the Loop

I’ve been using an app called “10 Percent Happier” for a couple of years. It’s created by Dan Harris, an ABC news journalist. The app is a collection of short discussions and guided meditations (almost all under 15 minutes).  The discussions are with a variety of prominent meditation teachers, all with Dan’s practical, relaxed, and often humorous approach to meditation for everyday people in everyday life.  

I was discussing UnderstandingOnPurpose with my wife, Linda Franke. She’s a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and focuses on somatic approaches to the work she does. I was telling her that, in my pursuit of how people communicate (or don’t), I find myself repeatedly following the trail of various experts in the field of relationship therapies; couples therapy and the like.

So today, as I opened my 10 Percent Happier app for my morning session, I drifted toward the “Relationships” collection, and came across a session by Oren Jay Sofer. One of the first things out of his mouth during the opening discussion was about, during a conversation with another human, how it’s important to continually check in to be sure you’re hearing the other person — understanding what they’re saying. What a great idea! 🙂

But he went deeper. He emphasized that it’s important to understand “what really matters about” what the other person is saying — to that person.  He made it clear that, in asking questions like “let me see if I get what you’re saying,” it’s important to be genuinely curious. It’s much more important to be genuinely curious than to get the words right. Also, it’s helpful, rather than to ask an open-ended question like “what do you mean by that?” to given an example. It matters less if you got the example right than that you made an honest, sincere attempt.  This keeps the conversation going.