Is that even possible? It certainly is a challenge… for me!
Ever since I was introduced to this, I have had a note card with red lettering on it spelling out – NO OPINION, taped to the border of my computer screen. I needed, and still need, this reminder in my line of vision.
Not an easy exercise
When I learned to respond with a question rather than an answer, my opinion, my interactions took a very interesting, productive, and positive course.
I discovered people really want to feel important. People really do want to be heard.
I see you
I love the greeting of the Zulu, Sawubona, meaning, “I see you.”
Sawubona: All my attention is with you. I see you and I allow myself to discover your needs, to see your fears, to identify your mistakes and accept them. I accept you for what you are and you are part of me.
This is what we want – to be seen, to be acknowledged.
So when I thought of this exercise of having no opinion, I convinced myself I was going to have to practice silence, which is not an easy task for yours truly!
I had to face it
Giving my opinion, even when asked, is purely egotistical. Unless I am an expert on the subject, I have nothing to say.
Really, the only subject upon which I can speak with any expertise, and sometimes the jury is still out on that, is myself. I am happy to share about my experiences. More than that, I am happy to have the opportunity to respond with a question I heard so often from my wonderful mentors.
What do you think?
No, I do not need to take a vow of silence. I engage by loving, giving, and encouraging. Doing otherwise would be contrary to the Law of Compensation, an eye opening essay by Emerson.
‘All things are double, one against another… love for love. Give and it shall be given you. He that watereth shall be watered himself… If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around your own.’
To me, the chain is my opinion and it asphyxiates me.
“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Proverbs 17:28
The tongue… my tongue
A read on article in reference to the above. The author gave a great analogy, which he credited to the Book of James.
Think of the tongue as the rudder. A rudder is the piece on a boat that gets lowered into the wwater to help steer a boat. If the ‘captain’ of a boat wants to turn the boat, he merely turns the wheel of the boat which triggers a lever to move the rudder, which, in turn, turns the boat.
Imagine an aircraft carrier. The captain moves his hand an inch to move the rudder a few feet, to change the destination of a the ship by hundreds of miles.
Words, like a rudder, are even more powerful. If words are the rudder, then I am the captain. My words amplify what is in my heart, my inner world. Guarding my tongue, giving no opinion, reduces the amplification of my inner world. My outer world is a reflection of my inner world. Reduced amplification is a must.
My words (opinions) are in my control. If I want to change the direction of my life, I need only to pivot in inch or so. Being consistent in practicing the very small changes leads to gigantic changes down the road.
What goes around comes around.
I need to humbly love, listen, and learn.
To change my mind is to change my life.