Real conversations and why we should filter water, not the world.April 28, 2013
Sometimes i miss being in college simply to have the experience of a group of people reading or watching one thing and then discussing it.
i adore watching documentaries and often find myself spending hours online reading about ideas or topics that were mentioned in them. But it isn’t the same as sitting down with a group of people and really discussing something. i want people to challenge the way i see things, i want to be passionately and politely angry about something and defend my thinking. i want to start talking about one thing and segue into a million other things because of an article someone read or a story someone heard on NPR that opens a can of worms.
Now, i really like having one on one conversations with people, ones that run the gamut from tears to uncontrollable laughter. But there is something infinitely different about a small group of people together sharing thoughts and information and being vulnerable enough to be real with one another.
A lot of times that vulnerability is hard for me. i don’t want to let my defenses down. i don’t want to share my thoughts or opinions until i know the situation and the environment is safe. And yet, i long for those situations. They help me to understand myself and my beliefs as well as to understand the world around me.
i watched a sermon yesterday from the church i am going to try out next week. The minister was talking about truth and whose truth is real and questioning whose truth we should follow. He talked about how sometimes we get so caught up in what we personally think and have been taught and feel that we filter the world.
We read articles and we filter out the parts we disagree with. We listen to news reports and people’s rants and raves and we roll our eyes because we filter out a lot. We kind of zone in on key words and ideas and we take them out because we think they don’t apply to us.
That filter is a hard thing to get around. It means you have to try and shut your brain off sometimes and just listen to the world. Listen to the people around you. Have those experiences and let the feelings and thoughts that come up from that pure listening just come up – you can analyze and pick things apart later. For me, this is really hard but when i manage it, it feels so good so be sort of organically experiencing things.
i want to get better at this. If i can work on turning that filter off and experiencing things as they happen then i can be in control of my emotions and feelings in a way i never have been before. i don’t mean that i won’t have any- i know i will and sometimes they may come out of nowhere and surprise me. However, there is a big difference between hearing something, getting angry about it right then and there, dealing with that anger as it happens and then moving on, and holding onto that anger (or sadness, or worry, or whatever) until there is so much of it inside that i feel like i will burst or implode or both.
Those times in college or even now when a group of my friends gets together and we just start discussing life and the world, i can feel that filter almost fade away. i feel open to learning and while the filter is gone my brain is soaking in every bit of information it can and churning out responses of my own. i walk away feeling like a better person. And the truth of it is, i probably am a better person for having turned that filter off and actually listening to what was being said.
i’m working on it. i’m hoping to find a good community to have these discussions with and i’m going to try not to shy away from the chances i have for the one on one discussions i love. If i ever find someone to date (i’m looking, i have a list of requirements, if you know someone who will fit them let me know) i want to be able to have real talks and experiences without filtering every moment.
The world is so much bigger than any of us and we’ll never see anything until we let that filter, that wall, come down and see through the eyes of other people and try to understand their views and their experiences. We have to change ourselves before we can change the world. It’s not easy but i’m pretty sure it’s worth it.