Brain Food #676

Conversations with the world

Thoughts of the day

The best kinds of conversations are the ones that are not forced, which involve as much listening and processing as they do talking. When we are open to really listening to what the other is saying, a conversation might take multiple surprising directions. When someone says something unexpected, yet stimulating, we can only truly hear it if we are not already thinking of the next thing to say.

What if you view how you spend your life as a conversation with the world?

Poet David Whyte takes this a step further, suggesting that reality is where we overhear ourselves and the world. Overhearing implies that we are not actively participating in this conversation, but there are still parts of us in it, the ones we are not so much in control of. And, ultimately, the act of listening starts being about listening to oneself, while being attuned to what is happening around us.

Whatever a human being desires for themselves will not come about exactly as they first imagined it or first laid it out in their minds… what always happens is the meeting between what you desire from your world and what the world desires of you. It’s this frontier where you overhear yourself and you overhear the world.

And that frontier is the only place where things are real… in which you just try to keep an integrity and groundedness while keeping your eyes and your voice dedicated toward the horizon that you’re going to, or the horizon in another person you’re meeting.

— David Whyte


Vaughn Morning by Kurt Solmssen portrays a lonely figure in a still summer morning. She is writing something, or perhaps reading. Sometimes, our best conversations take place in those moments of not saying anything at all.


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