Here is a funny story: a teacher who teaches at a university used to complain saying that he was sick of seeing half of his students sleeping during his classes!
Poor things were always bored to death. It may have something to do with the fact that he was teaching “ Constitutional Law” , but still, indeed a good teacher should be someone who can make any subject interesting.
So he finally decided to do something about it and arranged a meeting with a famous Austrian Professor, specialised in Pedagogy, to ask her for an advice.
The first thing the woman said was:
— Are you also bored when you teach?
— Oh yes, absolutely!!!
It is a simple point but we all can learn something from this: A bored person is boring and an “ interested” person is interesting!
2. Most of us have no connection to our inner selves. The best way to make that connection is to be CURIOUS about ourselves. Just to wonder why we do what we do and why we think what we think.
It can be really fun to look at yourself this way: with compassion and curiosity.
3. The closer you get to yourself, the closer you get to others. And we only need two things for this:
To find the right TOOLS to look inside. To find the right WORDS to describe what we see.
— The best tool I know is Alain de Botton’s philosophical meditation.
They have a video about it on this channel. Don’t miss it! You could then print the questions below the video and go through them at least once a week. They are extremely helpful.
One tragic thing about almost all of us, is that we really don’t know how to think. It is so difficult to think “ clearly” about yourself. What we call “thinking” is often just “ brooding”. And we have all sorts of mechanisms to delude ourselves too. So it is great to have a clear question in front of you, to which you must find an answer without changing the subject! If we learn to “ talk to ourselves” in these very interesting and productive ways, we can hopefully do the same with other people too!
— Another great tool is Mindfulness Meditation.
You could search for this on Itunes and start today: UCLA Hammer Meditation. ( I have watched a lesson on Mindfulness from Yale University on youtube. The teacher there recommended these guided meditation podcasts. They are extremely helpful! )
And the best books I have read on meditation are: Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, by Matthieu Ricard Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan For Finding Peace in a Frantic World , by Mark Williams. WORDS:
— Wittgenstein says:
“ All I know is what I have words for”.
In order to have more words at hand to describe how we feel, we need to read a lot of good books, poems, watch good movies, listen to beautiful songs, and listen to the people around us very well.
After all, our stories may be very different, but we all suffer more less because of the same things.
4. Three excellent podcasts on how to listen and communicate well are: Listening generously, Rachel Naomi Yemen with Krista Tippett On Being with Krista Tippet, Kwami Anthony Appiah BBC A Point of View, Alain de Botton on The Art of Conversation
5. A writer from Turkey, Ahmet Altan, says that the most interesting things people could say, are the things they don’t dare to say and rather keep for themselves.
What a pity really! But he also adds that children don’t have that kind of fear. And that’s why when you talk to a child you can always hear something interesting!
6. It is so true that those who travelled the most or met famous folks etc. , aren’t necessarily the most interesting people. Once I had a coffee with a musician I knew, a few days after he came back from his South America tour. So I asked him how it all went. I thought it must have been a life changing experience!
But all he could say was:
— Oh, yeah, it was cool. Cool! It was so cool you know….
He had gone through an extraordinary experience but he didn’t really “ experience” anything!
He was the exact opposite of the painter in this beautiful lesson, who knew how to make something so valuable out of an ordinary ( at first sight ) experience!!
That’s why this quote by Rilke is so important:
“ …For believe me, the more one is, the richer is all that one experiences”.
So our goal should be to become wiser, more sensitive and more profound , so that everything we experience can also become more meaningful. And if we feel the need to share all these, we won’t be boring. At least to some people!
Thank you !