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Nine Non-obvious Ways to have Deeper Conversations: a Guide to Talking with Each Other - NYT article

One thing I love about the New York Times is that they have a wonderful collection of opinion writers who contribute a surprising and wide range of articles. This article - Nine Non-obvious to have Deeper Conversations by David Brooks - offers us nine pathways to engage more deeply with friends, family, and even strangers in deeper and more interesting conversations. One of my favorite topics in this article is, "Approach with awe." Isn't that a remarkable mindset to hold while having a conversation with someone? It suggests many things: how we can have a sense of wonder while discussing an idea, both out of respect for the person or people we are speaking with, and for the topic we are discussing. It also suggests that we can include our sense of awe when we're having an inner conversation with ourselves, sorting out what we really think or feel or aspire to. We can also reframe our past experiences and relationships by having an inner conversation within ourselves, based on seeing our life and beliefs through the lens of awe.

What is awe? My Mac's dictionary provides this definition: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. What would our life and our relationships be like if we approached them with fear or wonder, in a healthy sense? And what do we do with the word fear in Mr. Brooks' article? I like to think he means a deep respect for the impact of our words on ourselves and each other - how we can inadvertantly hurt someone as well as heal.

One of my favorite conversation starters is, Ask elevating questions. This is a perfect we to get to know someone at a deeper and more interesting level. What do they love to do? What interesting perspectives do they have? What do they aspire to? And what could asking questions draw out of myself too?

You can read Mr. Brooks current opinion pieces here. If you find yourself moved by one of his pieces, please feel free to write about your experience of reading it and how it has affected you.

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Oct 14, 2021

David Brooks is clearly a man who respects the opinions, struggles, and very existence of his fellow human beings. And the meaning of the word "respect" here is almost indistinguishable from the word "love". To engage in a true, deep conversation about anything, you must understand to the greatest degree possible exactly where your conversation partner is coming from, and that takes patience, nonjudgment, and a sincere desire to connect on a fundamental level with your fellow being. David certainly has put a lot of thought and effort into this practice of meaningful conversation, and he has arrived at multiple, practical, compassionate techniques for enhancing self-exploration through thoughtful conversation. It is so refreshing to see such a rational and empathetic…

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