Well, I spent an amazing few days at my Teacher's ashram in Prescott before I came to Tucson for a few weeks of teaching. As always, my experience of visiting there was rich and full of meaning and opportunities to refine my sadhana and clarify my vision. Whenever I am there I always feel like I am a kind of Garmin device going "recalculating...recalculating..." And its not in a bad way, it just a bit like getting re-calibrated on a subtle, psychic level.
One thing I learned while I was at the ashram is the power of a good question. I have a team of advisors who I met with while I was there. And without going into a whole lot of detail I have to say that when I got down to what was really on my mind and asked an honest question of them, I was showered with a kind of help and Regard that was staggeringly wonderful. I told the story in class today as an example of how we determine the qualities of lives in many ways by the kinds of conversations that we have.
In our training we had posed a question to the group about devotion. After some writing and small group sharing, Darren asked how many people had juicy conversations and how many people had somewhat neutral or uninspired conversations. We gave the "juicy conversation" people a chance to share with the bigger group and then I offered my own recent experience as an example of how we can actually make the conversations of our lives more interesting.
When I first sat down to tea with my mentors, I was staying on a superficial level in our conversation. It was funny, interesting and pleasant, don't get me wrong. I mean we are all smart, well-educated and well-informed people so we can be quite entertaining. But as the tea party began to draw to a close I began feeling anxious because I had been sitting on a question and a request for some feedback and help and I wasn't entirely sure I was going to ask my question or not. As my anxious feeling increased, I decided to go for it and what resulted was an hour-long download of some pretty amazing wisdom, support and clarity that was in no way superficial, boring or mundane.
So the point of the story is that interesting conversations sometimes require that we be vulnerable, take risks and face our fears and anxieties about exposing ourselves, our shortcomings and our desires. And there are certain windows that open and opportunities that present themselves, but we have to step up to them in order to benefit from the opportunity. For instance, the tea party was almost over and had I not asked within five minutes of when I did, that window would've closed for a while.
Its a great way to move deeper into accountability in our relationships, I think. I mean, if we are bored in a conversation with someone, maybe its because we are being superficial or we are not risking vulnerability. Of course, its not always appropriate to dive deep. We certainly need to know when it is appropriate to have the "news, weather and sports" conversations in life, but that is a different issue. I am talking about when we are bored in relationships, or when we are not interested in what we are learning and so forth.
It kind of reminds of a time I was talking to Darren about some challenges Kelly and I were having in our marriage at the time. I was complaining that I was bored and Darren looked over at me, stared me right in the eyes and said, "Well, Christina, if you were telling the truth there is no way you would be bored. I have talked to him and I have talked to you and all I can say is that if you were telling each other the truth it would yield some pretty interesting conversations!"
So like that.
(And Darren was right. The truth got pretty darn interesting for a while!)