If only we knew to communicate was to create a universe.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Lazy, ponderous Sunday afternoon. I am seated before my friend at his place. He is — talking. I stare at the window behind him; it is raining outside.

“You are not listening to me, aren’t you?” he says, at length, surprised.

“No, I am not,” I admit, apologetically, bringing back my attention to him.

“But I hear you,” I add.

I hear you. The phrase brings back a singular memory. I was out on a date with a girl, Japanese. We had little language in common: she spoke little English, and I even lesser Japanese. We had a translator between us in the form of Google Translate in our smartphones.

“Tell me of a moment, an experience that defined you as a person,” I typed into the app and showed the translation to her. I wanted to get past all the frivolous chatter such as ‘What is your hobby?” or “What is your favourite movie?” and get to know her at a deeper, soul level. Despite our language barrier.

She mumbled something in Japanese as she typed the words.

The translation read she would have to speak to me in Japanese to answer that.

“日本語も大丈夫”[1] I quipped, with all the Japanese I picked up from the language classes I began to take then. We both knew this was a lie.

She took a deep sigh and began to speak, anyway. It was like a soliloquy. Her voice was like a whisper. Her eyes became distant, and gradually grew misty as she went on. In between, she would surface from her soliloquy to reality, pause, smile at the silliness of sharing a profound experience of her life with someone deaf as a stone. Yet, seeing me absorbed, she continued until she let out a heavy sigh.

I did not understand a word of what she said. But I heard her. I squeezed her hand warmly. She felt heard too.

That was the most meaningful conversation I have ever had.

Communication. Strange phenomenon. It is much more complex, intricate than we take it to be. Like now, I am looking at Phil, and I see that he is not two eyes, two ears, one presence, but the whole human population on earth: right this moment, I am actually seated before 7,859,630,426 minus 1 presences; 2 * 7,859,630,425 eyes and ears are attending to me. Phil is broadcasting our interactions unto the world population, to their souls, in real time. The world speaks to me through him. Phil is the representation of the world to me as I am to him. All the communication we have as we go through our day to day lives, even the most mundane of them, such as commenting on the weather to spark a conversation with an interesting stranger at a bus stand, exchanging pleasantries with a neighbour are conversation not just with that person, but with all humanity through them.

The core of what we communicate to the world through the person in that interaction is who we are than just information or feelings. Say you come home from work and meet your spouse.

“How was your day?” or “What have you been up to?” you ask one another. And you recount your experiences of the day you deem worth telling.

In these exchanges, the individual experiences are not as important as the who you are embedded in them. All communications are communications of who we are; the rest is chaff. The questions are aimed at knowing who you are. In other words, your spouse of say, ten years, is asking who you are every time you enter through the door. He or she hears who you are not so much from what you say as from what you do not say. You see, who you are is in a constant, nonstop flux of change.

You are never the same. You change every second, physically, mentally, spiritually. The person I was before I wrote this sentence is no less stranger to me than you who is reading this sentence. You don’t see the change much because you are traveling with the change, just as you don’t sense the motion of the earth. Perhaps you could gain a glimpse of that change if you kept a diary and read your last week’s entry. In any event, the overarching message of your communication everyday is who you are at that point in time.

Most of the communication of who are is inadvertent to us. We know little of the person we paint in the eyes of the world. The world first perceives who you are and then treats you accordingly. If you communicate that you are great, the world bestows greater resources and prestige upon you.

Often, we are less than happy with the inadvertent communication of who-we-are we communicate to others. We learn of the disarray in that communication when we notice that the people around us treat us with less respect than we would like to be treated. Perhaps your employer doubts your integrity. Or your colleagues do not desire your company as much as you want to. That is when you resolve to take the whole phenomenon of communication, with all its intricacies, in your little, conscious hands and endeavour to communicate the image you wish to communicate.

Two main means of communication is available to us. One is words. Tell the world who you are. You see to it that nothing but words in congruence with how you want the world to see you will ever come out of your mouth. When someone ever says or does anything to the contrary, you rant, scream your greatness. You tell the world you are not the same person; you have changed.

The other, and more effective means of communication than words is actions. At times, we vow “I will show the world who I really am”. You wish to be a person of action than words. You let your actions speak for themselves, for action is louder than words. Perhaps you want your work to speak for who you are than works are ought to be. Work ceases to be service to others because you become egoistically invested in it. Perhaps you acquire other skills. He is not just an actor, but also a painter.

Actions contribute still little in communicating who we are. Real, essential communication, communication of who we are, to the world, takes place in the complete absence of communication in words and actions with others; when we are not in interaction with anyone; when we are alone. That is when you commune with self. Self is your core being, the embodiment of your ideals and values. You are in continuous, nonstop communication with self in how true you are to these ideals and values in your everyday actions and thoughts and feelings, often when you are by yourself. Just like Phil in front of me now (studying me funnily), self streams the interaction to the world, to the spirits in them, and the world speaks to you through self as when this ‘voice’ inside you instructs you to make a better use of your time. You are always communicating who you are to the world, in this communication with self. To exist is to communicate. Thus the Good Book contends, “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad” (Luke 8: 17) .You can imagine the figure you are cutting before the world if you spend 18 hours binge watching movies on Netflix.

You do not need to communicate who you are in words or actions. Resorting to words and actions to communicate who we are shows insincerity on our parts, not to mention it is exhaustive and amounts to little.

Next time you stand before the world, seek not to communicate who you are in words nor in actions. Realize that our communication with the world begins before we ever come unto the presence of someone, before we utter the first word, or before we act or react towards other, when we are alone.

This insight became most clear to me recently. I was in interaction with this girl. Over the span of two months. In those two months, she communicated her beauty, grace, sincerity, most importantly love to me. I made the mistake that most men who ever come to this position make– communicate that I am love in words, tell her that I am, while she has done so with her mere presence. This is a decision I made when I felt insecure, feared that I might lose her if I did not.

Her answer? It came as a bit of a shock to her. It was like a stranger on the street coming before her and telling her that she is her mother.

“Words have failed me,” I cursed. But maybe I failed words, so to speak, because I tried to get words to communicate what I was not, love, at least not yet. Or rather words are not the right means to communicate it. Another man in my position expressed this by walking away from his throne to be with the woman of his love. That is letting action do the talking. But still even as grand as this gesture is, it comes no way near to the communication through being, which the woman, Wallis Simpson, communicated, for it is her presence that inspired the action.

Communication in being does not, of course, mean not speaking or acting, but rather saying and doing the right thing at the right time. These words and actions emanate from being. They are different from concerted, conscious ones in that concerted words such as ‘I love you’, or actions, such as taking her to a romantic dinner are clichés. However, words and actions we express from our being are inspired. There is poetry in them; they are poetic, poetic words, poetic actions.

After all is said and done, everything in the universe of existence is communication. Contrary to conventional wisdom, you are not all the people you have encountered and the things you have experienced, but the people, the events, virtual contents you meet with everyday are all you, what you communicate. They do not have existence outside of you. If you were to be taken from the place you live to another place on the face of the earth, right this minute, you would find, in a few days’ time, the same people and events with different appearance are there in your life; it is as though you tail them around everywhere you go. Every person, every event in your life is a projection of you, what you communicate in your being. If you, like me, ever wondered why your life is not as eventful, exciting and the persons are not so interesting, as in the movies, now you know that the simple answer to that is because you are not, you are not eventful, exciting, and interesting (If it makes you feel any better nor are the persons who write these movies — the movies are rather expressions in words of their desires than what they are).

[1] (Telling me in) Japanese is also fine.

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