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Engage or not?

Some conversations in the past few days brought up a pattern into my awareness. Without going too much into detail at this point, I would like to use this as a starting point to ruminate about something a friend called non-engagement with energy. Every time we communicate with each other, we run a potential danger to end up in a situation where it doesn’t go the way we want. It can be for example that the topic of the conversation doesn’t go where you want it to go and frustration or disappointment arises. Can happen that someone is getting angry or annoyed with us and it causes emotional unrest which disrupts communication. Also something might arise that comes unexpectedly and takes us over, dragging us into a place where we don’t want to be. All of this might happen and it happens every time. By stepping into a conversation there is a potential that it will change, touch, hurt, surprise etc.

I feel there are two layers that exist simultaneously. One relates to the intention of the conversation and another to how the conversation goes in practice. The latter has a tendency to take the lead, as it is unfolding in the moment, taking most of our attention and brain function to navigate it. So in the situations where we get fundamentally affected, meaning that conversation unfolds in completely unpredictable way, the intention is hijacked by the actuality. It can be a good thing, in that case we grow, collaborate, explore etc. All good, but what about the intention? Wasn’t it important all along? While spirited away by the novel excitement it is good to be honest with ourselves about the initial intention, and either let it go or bring it back to life. Both ways, the harm is minimal as the interruption has brought positive outcomes: new knowledge. But I am most interested in the other scenario. When intention hijacking happens by evil forces, consciously or unconsciously effecting us in undesirable way. Mostly it has to do with emotions that start to kick in and govern the process. Intention is put aside and safety and the feeling of belonging are our priority.

Let’s say we want to share something with our parents, we have the intention to update each other about what is happening in life at the moment. So we (I) start my story and 3 minutes in the conversation I get interrupted with something which has nothing to do with my sharing, but for example a random memory or a picture of a dog (this actually happened). My first reaction was, unpleasant feeling in my chest, rush of blood to my head, sweaty palms. I would say this constellation of feelings of rejection manifested itself in mild anger. Once I am in that space, obviously I lose the equilibrium, and my intention together with it. Now I am in the moment, feeling rejection.

What went wrong is the engagement. I engaged with the situation, with the energy that has its own logic and allowed it to affect me to the point of blindness towards my right intention. The two layers in the conversation, intention and actuality, stopped dancing and instead actuality starts switching partners like crazy, nervously and indecisively moving around in panic. What I would like to practice is non-engagement with energy while holding on to the intention. Like a bamboo that can bend in the wind never loosing its core. I found it really useful to separate engagement with energies and engagement with intention. This shift is a meta-move that allows more stable, anti-fragile position, where one can own the experience and decide to not engage with the energies the conversation it produces. This move can help maintain clarity of the mind and help in making further decisions either to leave or stay. Being hijacked never feels comfortable, so to keep the ground it is essential to keep the connection with the intention at all times. Not being clingy and jealous but just keep the connection and let it play within the conversational space.

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