Subjectivity and speech

What is the relationship between subjectivity and speech?

Speech is a narrow band compared to subjectivity.

When we awake early in the morning and lie alone in the dark, we often experience the richness of our subjectivity. It can be scary or peaceful or angry or blissful. It can be rich with imagery or memory, sounds, music, emotions.

Then something in us moves and we get up.

Normally, our subjective world starts to close down at this point, especially if we are living with someone. At some point, we will start talking, maybe drink some coffee, while we begin the process of fully awakening the communicative mind. I want to avoid calling this communicative aspect of our minds “objective” because there is nothing particularly objective about it and there is nothing particularly non-objective about our “subjective” mind as described above.

The subjective mind that we experience before arising or in meditation is like a vast mountain range, while the communicative mind—the speaking and listening mind—is like a tiled patio with a few chairs and a table within that mountain range of subjectivity.

Neither of them is better or worse and neither of them can be avoided or removed. Still, the speaking mind does tend to ignore the mountains, our subjectivity, while the subjective mind generally finds it hard to speak at all.

In FIML practice we place great emphasis on removing mistakes while we are speaking, listening, or communicating. This is like cleaning up the patio, making sure the chairs do not have rain on them or that the table does not wobble. Once the patio has been cleaned up, it is time to bring in more communion with your partner about the mountains all around you.

When your partner looks at the mountains—their subjectivity—it’s not the same view that you will have of your subjectivity. But still you are both human and you surely care about one another, so in many respects your subjectivities are not so different. Can you find more ways to share them? Can you find more ways to refer to them as you speak and listen?

FIML practice is capable of completely removing the snowball effects of inevitable mistakes in communication. Once you can do that, start adding more subjectivity, more of the mountains and happy clouds around you.

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