In a Café conversation with John, we talked about the throat, speaking and our use of words. An incisive dialogue followed which opened up the meaning, value and complexity of communication, the importance of speaking, and how our words and tone manifest our orientation. Do they reveal a self orientation governed by emotion, or a heart orientation governed by delicateness?
Q1: I’ve had strong experiences of pain in my throat at different times in my life, and in meetings I’m often very focused on your throat and its structure. I can sometimes feel towards you and your throat that devouring violence people sometimes speak of. I understand that there’s purity in violence, too. Is that violence a distortion? Will that violence one day not mean hurting each other, but ‘devouring’ one another with love?
John: Not necessarily ‘devouring’ each other, but yes, there is that principle of the innate purity that’s in violence – but not in violence as we know it. When that energy comes up it’s going to go through a translation in our selves, and anything that’s taking place in our selves is going to influence that translation so the translation isn’t pure. If there’s anything in our selves of angst or difficulty, reactivity, resistance or challenge – anything like that – within the more powerful energies of the calling moving that is going to magnify that mix, and it’s going to be magnified in the translation through one’s self.
It brings up what’s there, and a discerning eye can see it. Or a real listener, within, can see it, but if it all goes under the blanket okayness of “well, this is what’s deeply moving, so it is in and of itself pure …”, it’s not.
Q1: Does this structure I’m seeing in your throat have to do with communication, speaking, the structures of speaking that are so unusual?
John: Finer than that: even just the meaning of communication and what it is that makes communication and speaking of value.
Q1: Is that why there can be such a turmoil in the throat?
John: If there’s a turmoil then there’s an emotional component that hasn’t been worked out in the self.
The throat has to do with communication and it also has to do with meaning that you’re taking in when you take in. When you breathe the intimacy of the air and the air smells good, or it doesn’t smell good, that connects you here in your face. It has to get through your face before it goes down your throat, and it’s the same with eating. You first take something into the intimacy of your face, you bring it in through your lips and into your mouth. You start to chew it and you like it or you don’t like it. You’re working through this whole process of what it is that you’re participating in. At some point you commit to that and you swallow it, and then you let it go through a whole other process that is mostly unseen. If what you take in is really harsh, that’s not so unseen – it will make you sick. But most of what we eat is behind us, in our experience.
Q1: But words come up from the other way.
John: It all passes through the same value system, the value system of what you use once you commit to what you’ve chewed on, taken in and absorbed in your face, and what you’ll then take into your whole system by swallowing it. When you come up the other way from your sub-consciousness and from deeper levels of meaning it will come through that same system and structuring that you’ve put together over decades, of meaning.
So your capacity to communicate is really dependent on the level of intimacy with which you take something into your face, and with what level of consideration, meaning and understanding you’ll commit to swallowing what you’re working with in your face.
Q1: Is that why there’s so much sensitivity around the lips and mouth?
John: Yes. Where you bring commitment into that is where the structuring of your throat comes in: what level of meaning do you commit to?
Q2: So there is no mind involved in talking?
John: There’s a lot of mind in talking, and there needs to be mind in talking, but then there are levels of mind. The mind is in the employment of whatever your orientation is. If it’s a self orientation, a heart orientation, a deeper orientation, that’s what governs your use of mind and then how you use your mind in communicating: taking something in, bringing something out and communicating. So the mind is really important. The goal isn’t to function with no mind. It’s really, on multiple levels, to integrate your use of mind.
Q2: I have no need to talk.
John: But when you’re stricken with an emotion you have need of talking, and you will speak. You’ll bring through your voice and you will really manifest, so there your belief that you don’t need your mind is cancelled. Your underlying belief of what you move is all going to come out of you through your emotion.
Q2: But that’s not real.
John: What’s real is that these forms are here and you will use them. If you have a belief that you don’t need your mind, you don’t need your voice, you don’t need to speak, that will all be overridden by your real underlying belief, and that is if something crosses you, disturbs you, affects you, you will use your voice. You’ll speak up, you’ll scream, you’ll yell, you’ll roar: it’s coming out.
Q2: You can’t choose to not do that?
John: You can’t choose to not do that. All you can shift is your orientation, so your speech, your mind and your voice all remain in use. What matters, then, is what is using it? Is it a self orientation that’s governed by emotion, or is it a heart orientation that’s governed by delicateness?
Q2: Still there are no words.
John: It’s what words belong to. Words belong to whatever your orientation is. If you’re upset, words belong to upsetness. If you don’t belong to upsetness but you belong to your heart, then words belong to a movement of heart. But words are critical. Speaking is critical.
Q2: That’s why it seems critical for this okayness not to speak.
John: That okayness not to speak, for you, is not an integrated okayness. What makes that point is that if someone frustrates you, you will speak and you won’t speak in a manner that looks like a being. What you’ll manifest is a really unintegrated, coarse, jagged expression of how you feel about something or someone.
Q3: Sometimes we communicate a mix. I can sometimes see that the words don’t fully belong to what’s being expressed, but it’s possible to read and meet on that deeper level.
John: What you are actually about, regardless of what you think and believe, is going to come through in your choice of words as you speak, and it’s going to come through in your tone.
Everything can be manipulated, so you can perform using an understanding of kindness. That includes the tone of kindness and the choice of words of kindness, without there being any kindness at all. Then you begin to read more finely in hearing someone’s tone. There can be a general overlay of kindness and very subtly, just underneath that, within the tone, you can hear a very spiky aggression.
Q2: Going back to the importance of speaking, are you saying it doesn’t matter what you say and how you speak? I can just throw everything out there, from my person? Is that what you mean? If I’m upset I feel I’m not coming from my being, but from other levels.
John: No, it’s not about speaking whatever comes up. It’s very complex. It’s not a license to just let out whatever’s inside, and it’s also not about not needing to speak so everything can quieten down and you’re not going to put things into words. It’s neither one. What you believe to be a movement of your voice that comes from your being is not from your being; it just feels like it in your self.
If upsetness and aggression come up, you’re put into having to integrate and deal with those things in your self that you haven’t dealt with. It’s really important not to put them in a category where you can dismiss them. They’re for you to see and understand what’s there in your self that may not be in keeping with what you believe of your interior. That brings about some measure of change. The way you hold them brings about the change in your self.
What would be good for you is to hold very lightly your use of speaking or not speaking, and to not be committed to your idea of needing or not needing to speak; that you hold both directions very lightly and not be committed to either one. To eliminate speaking is like eliminating thinking or feeling, eliminating your self, as though those forms are not real.
Q4: Can communication move directly without going through translations, without needing to pass through an integrated self?
John: That’s dependent on the quality of heart; not the integration of one’s self but the quality cleanness and purity of heart.
Q4: And then would that pathway pass straight through the self?
John: It would flow though the self, but that purity is going to bring a different translation in the self than the compromise of that purity.
Q4: So then as that moves through, as the self is touched by that, a kind of integration happens?
John: Yes. Whatever it is that moves through the self, whatever quality of heart moves through the self, it’s that quality of heart that is integrating the self. So if it’s a purity of heart that moves through the self, then it’s purity of heart that integrates the self, so then the integration is also clean.
Q4: And that would be true of both directions: coming out into expression and coming in.
John: Or going within – yes. And what we think of our own heart, our belief of what kind of heart we have doesn’t really matter much.
Q4: So what does matter?
John: Being able to hear what comes to us from the outside, and being able to really hear and listen to what’s taking place when something comes out of us. Are we actually reading what comes in, at us and to us and are we really reading what’s coming out of us? Or do we have our blinders on? We have ways of justifying or covering or rationalizing certain things that come out of us, and we put that into a category that makes the badness of it somehow go away. So then we fool ourselves.
Q4: But that pure line can even pass through the blinders so all the blinders can be seen and felt?
John: If we’re in that purity then we are listening and we do see. So it doesn’t matter what condition our selves are in because of how we have been.
Q4: It seems to be a lot to do with involvement: what I involve my self with as things are happening, which is different to seeing. Is there any level of involvement when purity is moving through freely? And is it different to engagement?
John: There’s involvement and engagement. The involvement is where you involve your self, use your self, so that you can express what you’re coming from. It’s a pure kind of self involvement – involving your self in expression – which is really different from being self-involved. That’s a self orientation.
Q4: And that naturally changes the self because there’s a different level of engagement happening, with a different level of values, a different level of meaning.
John: To see this working just look at the innocence of a small child where it hasn’t, for the most part, really separated. You see how they involve their self in expressing something that isn’t of themselves. It’s of what they’re actually all about. So then you see these wonderful expressions coming out. You see real expression and pure expression, and that expression can come through in doing the wrong things.
Q4: Can you say more about that?
John: Coming through ignorance. For example, a child’s parents have been working on growing prize flowers and finally they’re ready for the country fair. They’re going to clip them in a week’s time. The child goes and sees these beautiful flowers, clips them and gives them to Mommy and Daddy. It has completely ruined their whole summer’s work. But the child has done something that is real, pure, clean and good, except on one particular level that the child is ignorant of. So then the child had then done something ‘wrong’ that’s not wrong.