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How To Read Someone’s Body Language Without Breaking a Conversation

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

I would like to present you a very practical skill which can make your work and private life a bit more exciting. It should be primarily useful for people who deal with others during face to face meetings, presentations, conferences, etc. It is fairly easy to learn and it is based on flexible attention.

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Flexible attention is the ability to alternate between narrow attention style (focused) and diffused attention style (broad) or to apply both at the same time. Narrowing makes us specific but requires dividing reality into smaller pieces (objects). Diffusing allows us to see the big picture and connect (immerse) with its elements.

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For example, you can read and understand this text (narrow attention style) while staying aware of something more (diffused attention style) at the same time. Read the following text to experience what flexible attention feels like.

Can you become aware of space which is between you and the screen you are reading from now? Do not stop reading and become aware of space in front and around the screen at the same time. Keep reading, and notice sounds around you (maybe hum of the fridge, or birds singing outside the window). There is always something happening around us but when we narrow our attention we tend to cut it off form our awareness. Keep reading, stay aware of space and sounds and become aware of what your right hand is touching now. You can see now that you can understand what you are reading staying aware of a lot more than lines of text. You have just made your attention more flexible between narrow and diffused styles.

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My attention is flexible when I consult my patients as a family doctor

One of the basic ‘tools’ in my profession is knowing how to communicate with people. The better you are at putting them at ease, letting them talk, and listening to their story, the more information you can collect and the better help you can offer. Most information comes with words and I used to rely on this, but since I learned that I can make my attention flexible I started reading body language as well.

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Male Patient Having Consultation With Doctor In OfficeI can talk to someone, focusing on words and what s/he says (narrow attention style), and I can stay  aware of their whole bodies at the same time (diffuse attention style). I see eyes, hands, legs, face, and the whole body movements being fully engaged in a dynamic conversation. I am aware of changes in the tone of voice, I notice how they express themselves and how important is the problem. I am able to notice where they store feelings in their body and many other little things like the height of her dog, where the clock is in his kitchen, or whether she likes her neighbor.

When my attention is well diffused I can stay aware of his/her body and my body at the same time. For example, when I notice shaky hands I feel a tiny tension growing around my eyes. When someone is angry I feel my body tensing as a reaction to that. I am observing his/her body talking to my body and then my body reacting to this talk.

I can subsequently relax the tension in my body and I often see that their body follows. They calm down without any verbal encouragement from me.

The fact is that this ‘body to body’ conversation happens every time we talk to someone. However, we are not aware of it when we narrow our attention on a conversation only. It just happens to us. I found there is a lot space for improvement here and the only condition is – an ability to make my attention flexible.

After some time I started calling it an advanced body language, since I do not have to remember what crossed arms or frequent blinking means. I can fully control the whole situation and I can influence my patients – in a good way – using a lot more than only calming words.

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You can try it anytime you are around other people

Two couples eating pizzaIt also works when I observe other people. I become aware of space around these people and space between them and myself. It broadens my vision field and I clearly see their whole bodies and I feel what they really think. It gives me powerful insight and allows me to see a lot more about what is really happening.

You can try it today. Look at people around you and become aware of space around them and between them and yourself. Do it gently, softly, and do not rush yourself. You will notice your internal chatter quieting down and you will become aware of the whole scene at the same time. Then let it happen. You can practice my attention exercises if you want to make your attention more flexible first.

It is good to know that practicing flexible attention helps to develop skills like controlling physical pain, stopping panic attacks, reducing anxiety and enhancing a performance. You can have a good, long sleep every night, instant sense of calm whenever you want, and become a lot more creative.

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Consciousness

How To Have Your Own Personal Zen Master Around Anytime You Descend Into Stress

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

When you look at a true spiritual master, guru or yogi, one of the most remarkable things you might notice is that they don’t seem to experience stress. You might conclude that they arrive at this state through meditation, fasting, prayer, or other such disciplines. This is only partly true. Those spiritual practices can certainly contribute to stress reduction, but their ultimate effect is to support the maintenance of ONE KEY THOUGHT that spiritual masters hold in their minds (and bodies) with unfailing certainty.

Granted, this key thought is not easy to grasp, hold as truth, and then deeply embody within yourself. Throughout history spiritual masters have done their darndest to articulate it for those hoping for inner peace and harmony. The limitations of language, of all human languages, is woefully revealed in these attempts. But if you are ready, open, and genuinely seeking–an ‘aspirant’ as they say in yoga–then it becomes possible for a certain expression or turn of phrase to begin to activate your deeper inner knowledge of the state some call samadhi, enlightenment, Christ consciousness, or what I like to simply term presence. Are you ready?

Stress-Free Perception

In a true state of presence it is impossible to feel stress. Impossible. That is because stress is predicated on our seeing the world as dualistic. In a state of presence we embody a perception of singularity. The apperception of the world as whole, as unified, is truth unmasked.

From a perception of unity there is no past or future, there is only now. Note that human experience is only ever experienced through the now, past experiences were only ever experienced in the now, and the same will hold for our future experiences. Having the experience of presence helps us get a glimpse that time itself is a fabrication, a ‘program’ that helps our intentionally limited minds have a particularly lush and interesting kind of experience in the physical world.

How We Create Stress

But let’s get back to our everyday time-bound consciousness. For those of you who earnestly seek to dissolve your stress, and are open and willing to let go of anything your mind is clinging to in order to achieve it, I will try to explain the one key thought.

The experience of stress is the experience of the tension or dissonance between two things: how your world IS in any moment, and how you think it SHOULD BE. You create stress by carrying in your mind an image of how something in the NOW—yourself and others, the presence or absence of things, the weather—is NOT OK as it is. That puts you into a self-created adversarial relationship with the only point of contact you have with life.

Fortunately, your emotions alert you to this crazy confabulation, by making you aware of internal discomfort you label as STRESS. This STRESS is nothing more than an urgent signal from your higher intelligence to return to presence. But in a state of stress how can you possibly return to presence?

The One Key Thought Into Presence

You need to get into the habit of using your awareness of your own stress as a trigger to align yourself with this one key thought: everything is perfect as it is. It’s like having your own personal Zen master around any time you descend into stress asking you the well-worn koan, ‘What, in this moment, is lacking?’

It works. Trust me.

But it only works to the extent that you are willing to let go of the past (and future), along with all your judgments, grievances, ‘shoulds’, hopes, and fears that arise out of a dualistic perception. If you are truly willing and able to deeply hold this one key thought as ULTIMATE truth, above ALL other beliefs and opinions, you will start to feel it working.

Spiritual Context

If you have doubts about this one key thought representing ultimate truth, allow me to provide the spiritual context I work with in which the statement makes perfect sense.

A common thread at the heart of all great spiritual traditions is that we are all immortal souls who are currently having a ‘human’ experience. The circumstances of this life experience were chosen by us to facilitate our soul’s evolution. So any time you feel stress, you can see it as the universe prodding you to take an evolutionary step. That evolutionary step is to see the perfection in everything, if only for a moment at first. If you’re game, these brief moments of clarity add up quickly to a more permanent step up.

An Example

Let’s say for example you’re stuck in traffic, and realize you are going to be late for a meeting. Maybe it’s even your ‘fault’, because you left late or didn’t check your GPS. If you’re feeling stressed about it, realize it’s because things are not how your mind thinks they should be. Your mind thinks you ‘should’ be at the meeting on time–to get some important information, perhaps, or because your reputation as a reliable person is at stake, and you will be judged by others at the meeting in a way that may impact your future success.

Now, you can continue to be stressed in that moment (and subsequently for the entire drive to the office), or you can take ALL that very reasonable blather of ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’, roll it up in a ball, and drop it into your faux-ashtray. You will be able to do this if you reach for presence, if you remind yourself that there is only the present moment, and in the present moment you can choose to experience stress, or choose to experience peace. If you choose to be fully present you accept the present moment exactly as it is, realize there is nothing you can DO in that moment to remedy the so-called problem, and take the evolutionary step of seeing everything as perfect in this so-called ‘stressful’ moment. There is no problem now–and you will deal with the ‘problem’ when the ‘problem’ arises. You are simply in a car driving. You will then start to feel relief, and gain confidence that if you maintain presence through your arrival to the office, your late entry into the meeting, and your conversations afterwards, the ‘problem’ will never arise and you will literally breeze through the whole experience. You will be ‘ok’ with whatever happens.

Common Fears About Presence

FEAR: If I go into presence I will lose my mind.

Maybe-but only in a good way. Lol. Seriously, presence is not losing one’s mind, it is aligning one’s mind properly, with the timeless ‘true mind’ playing the role of master and the time-bound ‘false mind’ (ego) playing the role of servant, allowing the true mind to interface as it pleases with the time-governed physical world.

FEAR: If I go into presence I will stop trying to make my life better.

Perhaps. After all, what is better than presence, where everything is perfect? But there is more to it. You may be surprised to hear that a state of presence does not thwart action, it only thwarts reaction, fear-based, ego-sponsored drives to alleviate doubt, fear, insecurity, stress. In a state of presence the true mind decides on action, the best action for the situation, which is then carried out in perfect flow with the environment.

FEAR: It’s too hard to do and I’ll ultimately fail.

Failure is impossible. Patience, though, is required. The evolution of consciousness might seem like waves rising and falling on the shore, but the high water marks accumulate and eventually produce a stable higher state of awareness. Remembering and forgetting presence is natural, but with persistence it is remembered more often, maintained for a longer period of time, and eventually becomes part of your normal, base perception. With this as your base perception, then, it is truly possible for you to experience a life free of stress.

 

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

Are We Well Adjusted To A Profoundly Sick Society?

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Following up on a classic quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti, what does it mean to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

Continue Reading

Consciousness

How To Ground Yourself: A Simple Yet Powerful Technique

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Mental health challenges, depression and even physical illness, are all on the rise. All three are believed by emerging research to be linked to trauma.

Thankfully, nervous system health and trauma are becoming a big part of what people talk about as it seems people are looking to get to the root of these issues more now than ever before.

After coming to my own realization that I was traumatized from experiences I had, I began studying trauma to not only help myself but to see how I could further improve my own media work – which has been, in essence, trauma-informed, since 2009.

What I’ve come to feel is that trauma affects almost all of us in some way, while there is not much data to back that up, I truly believe this to be the case. Learning useful skills to work through that trauma is becoming important in order to take our health into our own hands.

In the video below, I talk a bit about how events going on in the world can make us feel anxious and worried, and how that affects our bodies, minds, and health. I also share a simple yet powerful technique for sensory grounding.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

Continue Reading
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