View this email in your browser

For the Week of May 5 - 11: Three-Centered Communication


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 

- Mark 12:30

This week we continue with the second of five emails exploring "Relating Body." Last week we focused on three-centered love, and this week we focus on the experience of three-centered communication. If you need a refresh on three-centered being, start with last week's email.  


We've all had the experience of miscommunication. Pop street wisdom says that the problem with communication is that we think it has occurred – and it hasn't. 

To help us develop more conscious communication skills, grounded in each of our three centers, we turn to many Work ideas that address and invite us to become more aware of our habits and manner of communicating, our speaking and listening, affect and gesture, tone and disposition, inner states and outer expressions – recurring in like circumstances and/or with familiar people – most particularly, our own family, work relationships, anyone with whom we regularly communicate. 

Our habits of communication or lack thereof, reveal our state of thinking, feeling and sensing more than anything else – in part because communication involves each of our centers, our thoughts, emotions, and physicality. They also review our associations. And communication is one of the most transparent places where our Being is revealed and where negative emotions can seep through the cracks of polite façades. 

For instance, watch this two-minute video from the Gottman Institute and notice how four negative and common patterns of communication in relationships (criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling) manifest through each center. This is just one simple example of four different expressions of negative emotions that can manifest through communication – not just our words, but our affect, gestures and body language. And it all impacts. Such communication, verbal or non-verbal, may not be our conscious intent, but it is our impact and all would be served if we brought  more conscious awareness to our listening and speaking. But what might be getting in the way?

Negativity and Communication

The Work locates the roots of human conflict and relational difficulties primarily as a result of our mechanicalness or sleep, and the psychic muck arising up from the negative parts of our centers, especially the negative part of the emotional center. We've covered this topic before in many ways, but if you are interested in a deeper dive, you can begin with this definition of negative emotions

The key point about how the Work defines negative emotions is that they are often mechanical, fueled by identification with an energy that is depleting, controlling, and constricting us and those we might be relating to or communicating with. 

The other point the Work makes about negative emotions is that they are not grounded in truth – in fact, they are most likely always lying. And as such, they are the fuel that can ultimate in violence. 

More benign than negative emotions, the Work idea of outer or moving parts of centers sheds light on things such as mechanical talking, which can manifest as small talk, jokes, talking about the weather, sports or the mindless repetition of cliches. In short, very surface-level communication that requires no or little intellectual focus, emotional investment or force of physical presence. 

In contrast to surface communication, is the Work ideal of communication from one's essence versus communication from one's personality: essence to essence, in a three-centered way. 

Cultivating Equanimity in Conversation 

So, what to do? How do we cultivate this type of conscious communication?

Here's a key, powerful paragraph from Maurice Nicoll's Commentaries* that gives practical guidance on the importance of cultivating passivity or peacefulness to an event, which could be hearing someone say something to you, or experiencing conflicted or hurtful communication. That is, the orientation is toward making personality passive.

The power of these ideas is in the doing, so try this on for yourself, as it relates to your own communication with others. To aid in this application, where you see the word "event" below, shift it to "conversation":

*"On Additional Means of Self-Observation," May 29, 1941, p. 19

Cultivating More Conscious Communication 

As a first step, as you speak or listen to someone, especially if you might find yourself feeling attacked, criticized, misunderstood or growing angry, make an effort to self-observe how you are listening: Notice your body posture. Your affect. Sense your facial expressions, the small muscles of your face. Scan your body: what do you sense? Watch yourself, as if in a mirror. Sense yourself. Non-critically. What do you perceive? Take a photograph in the Work sense. Try this everyday during the next week: you are building Work memory.

Now try to externally consider the inner state of the person you are interacting with: visualize yourself as the other person, feeling into their circumstances, their difficulties, their perspectives. Remember that to do this involves both seeing oneself in self-observation and seeing the other at the same time. Look at yourself from the other person’s perspective – see yourself through their perspectives and attitudes.  Perhaps what they are seeing is a person (you!) who is telling a story – perhaps a very old story – singing a song, so to speak. Or, perhaps what they are seeing is a person who is endlessly and mechanically talking and does not listen to them at all.

Now, a little more awake, try to become more aware of what is essential to say and what is not. Perhaps it is best to minimize content, details and story. Certainly it is always appropriate to not gossip. 

Lastly, and perhaps most practical of all is increasing our skillfulness and capacity to listen and speak more consciously. Pairing the Work with the practical tool of conscious communication is certainly one way to be a good Work student in life. If increasing conscious listening and speaking intrigues you, do consult the work of Marshall Rosenberg, especially his book Nonviolent Communication. It is a practical master class in how conscious listening and speaking can become a profoundly important and enlightened third force. 


  • Read Maurice Nicoll’s Commentary, "On Additional Means of Self-Observation," May 29, 1941, Vol. 1, pp. 16-19. It is a foundational teaching appearing early in the Commentaries, wherein he summarizes: "So, if we ask ourselves what our life consists of, we cannot say merely of events [or encounters with others] but that it consists far more of states [our own]."

  • Choose a past conflict that began with a communication breakdown. Review your role in the miscommunication or conflict. Notice which centers were involved. Study yourself. 

  • Observe how you communicate over the course of multiple conversations with the same person or different people in a similar circumstance. Notice patterns. In what way are you the common denominator? What does your small photo album of the week reveal?

May Practice: Writing Letters – love through words

Seneca wrote to his friend affirming: "I never receive a letter from you without being instantly in your company." Letter writing is an ancient art, especially dear to those who aim to nurture and care for others at a deep, intimate level. This month's community practice is letter writing. And by that, we mean handwriting on a piece of paper or card, rather than typing or emailing. Handwriting slows us down and contact with paper and pen helps us ground energy in a tangible, embodied way. Explore writing a letter to a family member, a friend, a colleague, or perhaps even a stranger this month. See what comes up for you. See what comes back to you.

Attend The Journey School Thursday night class tonight: 

7:00 pm Central Daylight Time via Zoom only.

  1. Click on this link and Zoom should open automatically on your laptop or tablet:, or

  2. Open Zoom, click on Join Meeting and enter this meeting ID: 996-101-9778, passcode: CCH

Copyright © 2022 The Church of Conscious Harmony, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.