Our Post-Dyad Conversation
Jonathan: First of all, how was that for you?
Natalie: Terrible talking, easy listening.
J: Why terrible talking?
N: I feel like I could talk for a long time if I had something to say beforehand. But, being asked a question, I was like...
J: I think "tell me who you are" as a question is more... I feel like I don't know exactly what the expectation is but we would go into what we are in the world, like what an "I" is kind of thing. And I didn't really get into that. It was basically like modified therapy, where I would say a bunch of stuff about myself knowing that you can't respond. Was it hard to not nod or acknowledge what I was saying?
N: Yeah, because then it feels like you're not really listening. That's like the signal to the other person that you are listening.
J: Right. It was weird at first when I was talking and you were just staring at me. I know you were doing what you were instructed to do. And I definitely nodded a few times and smiled at things you were saying because that's what we do when we talk all of the time. Did it feel at all good being able to share with me knowing that I couldn't respond?
N: Like, right now I can talk pretty easily. But, it feels like a pressure more than a... like if I came home from something hard that happened that day, maybe then it would be really great to say "You just have to listen to this for five minutes."
J: We should try that. You have an open invitation to tell me "I need to just talk for five minutes and please don't respond."
N: I think it's a great venting strategy. I feel like you kind of think about these things, the problems you're dealing with, so I think you had something in mind. But if I asked you about something you hadn't been thinking about, you might be like, "Okay, I'll try." You're also just very good at talking.
J: (laughs) Thanks. Let me read a few of the other questions to you and let me know if you think it would have been easier or tougher. There are multiple Dyads based on what you want to get out of it. So, some of the "Enlightenment Intensive" dyads are "tell me who you are," "tell me what you are," "tell me what life is," and "tell me what another is."
N: Oh, I didn't realize that's what the questions were like.
J: That's what some of them are like. So, if you're going for a real meditative space, maybe it's about set and setting. Like, you need to be in a place where you'll feel comfortable answering the question, "tell me what life is." But then there are dyads for clearing current problems. "Tell me about a problem you're currently having." "Tell me what I need to know to in order to understand that problem completely." There are more specific ones, like "tell me about a goal you have for life."
N: That would have been easier.
J: "Tell me about a time you felt loved."
N: That's weird.
J: "Tell me something you like about life." "Feel into your body and tell me what you become aware of." There are also ones for couples, but I didn't want to get into that.
N: What's a couples one?
J: "Tell me a way you experience yourself contributing to our relationship."
N: Yeah, let's do that.
J: I think it's interesting that when we start these it's difficult to think in a non-self-centered way. This is the way I'm used to speaking about myself, in a therapy-type way. If you ask me "who am I," I'm immediately thinking about personality traits instead of "What does it mean to be a 'me' in the world?" which I'm not sure I know how to answer.
N: Yeah, maybe if I'd seen those other questions, I would have known to do that. To me, it sounded like a prompt for a college essay. Those things that I hated writing, because it seems like there's an answer you're supposed to have, but sometimes you just don't have an answer to a question.
J: Maybe in a week or two we can try this again with different questions?
J: Would you consider this a form of meditation?
N: It seems more like therapy than meditation. To me, meditation is a calming experience or a way to feel more present, and I thought of this as not anything to do with the present, it was all about the past.
J: Maybe that's something we can put as a guideline for the future. Keep this present-focused. Make it less about telling a story and keep it "this is my personal five-minute present talking time." That might make it more meditative as an experience.
N: I can see that.
J: Thanks for doing this with me!