When you’re speaking you might think that mostly what’s going on is the transfer of information, from your head into the head of another.

But understanding speaking in this way misses what’s most important about us.

We’re not computers – or anything like them – filled with information or data that can be transferred seamlessly, with unimpaired fidelity, from brain to brain. We’re people, each with our own world: a rich, complex web of meaning, understanding, practices and relationships that is inescapably part of each of us.

When you speak to another you’re not downloading information. You’re speaking from your world into their world, a world which might share much with yours but is also unknowable, vast, and more different from yours than you can imagine. And each time your speaking evokes the meaning, possibility and understanding that arises in their world, rather than yours.

When you begin to see this, you’ll appreciate just how different from you others can be. Then you can give up repeating yourself again and again, or blaming others for not understanding you.

Instead, you’ll work on developing your listening, so that the world of others becomes more available to you, and your creativity, so you can find ever new forms of expression that can reach across worlds and have the possibilities you long for come to pass.

Photo Credit: fatboyke (Luc) via Compfight cc