I taught a class on “nonverbal communication” that I just finished up. I’m trying to incorporate some of that into this series, along with TSK, Buddhist thought, and some other various ideas based on my time in Thailand.

Nonverbal communication:

Basically, we’re interconnected. Everything is constantly “in communication” with everything else. This is not to difficult to get conceptually, and only a little more difficult to begin to get experientially.

The experiential understanding of interconnected nonverbal communication, or influence, “constant contact” as one business that used to advertise on WGBH Boston used to call it, often comes from practice. It’s transmitted. This means I guess that it’s a process of transformation that appears magical in many ways because it’s hard for ordinary folks like me to understand. Transmission is also the process of learning- if you study writing with someone, your voice will probably start to sound a little like them, over time. It’s like osmosis.

My first nonverbal communication class was improvised.

It was about two and half hours long.

This is almost the nightmare scenario for me as a teacher/teacher in training (very inexperienced teacher).

On my schedule, it said that Thursdays were for “Academic Writing.” This was what I planned for, a little, made photocopies for, imagined, visualized in the days preceding. Then I had a classroom of about thirty kids with limited English comprehension expecting a class on Nonverbal Communication. I actually did it. That is to say, I managed to go through a little over a chapter in the textbook with them, and made some intelligent points. I don’t know how much they understood of what I was saying- there was nodding and smiling, but it’s hard to know how much sinks in, especially when at the end of the course, a lot of the writing didn’t really demonstrate an understanding of what I was saying… Well, anyway I did something. I didn’t faint or have a heart attack.

But one point I made in the first terrific class was that nonverbal communication means we’re communicating all the time. In fact, everything is.

I don’t know where to take that point from there- the implications seem too obvious to be worthwhile. It’s something to keep on the back burner.

Thoughts from recent posts- the possibility of extricating yourself from culture, time/place bound knowledge, timing and getting past normal time…

Things are in constant communication, but this doesn’t mean this process is easy or straightforward. Culture provides myriad filters, blind spots, easy interpretations, habitual patterns, containers, shields, masks. In other words, the process of samsara exists not only at an “individual” level, but throughout culture (which is one argument for transforming a culture- you can’t escape or change samsara just at a personal level, the personal is always twisted up with the cultural and timely).

There’s this idea of zeitgeist, too, a prevailing energy and set of ideas of a time- this could be very distracting and manipulative. It’s a kind of “herd instinct” in a way. What do I think? Well, what is everyone else thinking?

Last, since time is supposed to be part of this section, time and the normal… Time can be hard to understand as “transcendental” in any way, or magical. I think there’s a clear connection between time and suffering, though, and between time and experience. If you think suffering is worth facing at least, then time enters in. If you think experience is worth understanding better, then time is worth looking at.


Things are in constant communication through space and time.


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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