You can hide your feelings without even realizing it by using communication filters, which can come through with words, body language, and actions. When a close friend asks, “What happened?” – and you smile sweetly and say: “Nothing” – you can close yourself from your real feelings. Thus, by closing the door to your inner world, you cannot fully experience life, realize your personal values and make choices that will help you live in harmony with yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up if you use filters as an emotional technique. Perhaps this is how you practice some form of self-defense. Filters can be an important protective feature in the event of an injury or a response to a situation that you are having trouble with. Turning on and activating the full expression of your feelings and emotions when you are not mentally ready for this can renew unpleasant or even painful experiences. If you haven’t yet recovered from the stress you’ve experienced, it can be counterproductive to the healing process you need to have a full and active inner life.
This does not mean that you have to be 100% mentally healthy or have fun every day in order to live a normal inner and outer life. Filters can often distort your true feelings and interfere with your relationship with yourself and others. Conscious or subconscious filters falsify how you communicate your feelings. You select these filters for a variety of understandable reasons, including the fear of not being good enough, being understandable, or simply getting hurt. But in the end, filters affect communication both with others and with oneself. Here are two of the most commonly used filters, stopping which will help you open up and feel better.
If you ask questions to which you are not interested in the answers, you begin to think superficially. “Is it cold there?” or “How did you spend your vacation?”. Questions like these are common placeholders. If you’re about to enter into a business discussion or chat with colleagues, these questions may not be as harmful. On the other hand, consider asking a more insightful and personal question that may still be part of the professional realm. People may be more open, interested, and involved in the conversation when they are asked how their daughter is doing, how is their wife, for example. This is how you show a genuine interest in who these people really are, what their personality is and the different areas of life. And you yourself do not waste energy on empty talk about the cold or vacation.
Remember how at the moment when there is absolutely nothing to say, we start talking about the weather? This topic really shouldn’t be the centerpiece of the conversation, unless you’re talking about some massive climate change or tropical rainfall in a place you’ve recently visited yourself. But in personal and intimate relationships, shallow talk can be harmful. They signal that there is resistance to either receiving or giving information and energy on a deeper level. Yes, sometimes these topics can be a “warm-up” before a deeper and more personal conversation, but ask yourself the question: what is behind this indecision?
Another filter or unconscious practice that many people use is retreat. You can retreat in many contexts: from your own dreams, from an emotional connection, or from deeper communications and potential conflict. Here the filter creates a shield against something imaginary, be it an imaginary bad or good scenario. In truth, you don’t know what that experience will be like until you step into it. When you step back, you distance yourself from a life experience, a certain stage that will take you to the next place, to the next person you can meet and learn from. And most importantly, this imperfect experience affects your inner life.
If you remove people from your personal space, you may become more comfortable. But you can create your own safe space (or comfort zone) across boundaries that will still allow you to live life to the fullest. By stepping back completely, you are ignoring or trying to shut out the emotions and new experiences that should be in your life. And you will have to face these same people and experiences ten times before you accept them.
Inner communication and kriya yoga resist these filters. You can talk deeply to yourself and to other people, and these experiences serve you, not the other way around. As with all yoga practices, they maximize the experience of how you experience your outer and inner life.
A practice that deepens your communication with yourself and others
Choose someone you trust to practice deepening your communication. Try to tell this person some topic or your thoughts that excite you, tell where you want to direct the energy or where you think this energy goes. Have your partner listen to you silently for 10-15 minutes and then say a few words about the topic you just revealed to him. Then switch roles.
Be open and honest with yourself and the outside world and practice techniques if you feel tight and internal blocks.