Talking is a not only an activity but also a place. A place our mind sometimes takes us to seek shelter from external danger. When we feel insecure or unsafe in a particular situation, talking can become a coping mechanism to wiggle out of discomfort. The bigger the discomfort is the more inaccessible the talking becomes and the higher the possibility that we start lying. We are masters in weaving the narratives. You might notice that under stress talking changes, miraculously all those words coming out leave you wonder what just happened. There is a peculiar fact about our brain function that explains why we are such good storytellers when under stress. Our ability to create imaginative narratives and stress response function situates in the right hemisphere, not that far from each other. By the way, this physiological detail is also one of the reasons why conspiracy theories have a strong presence in the times of the global pandemic.
Talking, as an action, gives a sense of purpose, it is directed outwards, aiming to create a feeling of belonging. We use it to catch and hold the attention of others. When we feel we are loosing it, we get scared of abandonment and as a reaction try harder until became self-absorbed and eventually lose grip on reality. Sometimes when that happens anger, aggression, sadness, frustration, disappointment come in to fill the empty gap of loss. Therefore, it is important to know when to stop talking and not allow the gap to occur in the first place.
While having a conversation try to keep close to the person you are talking to, look at the posture, body language, facial expression and other clues. If you feel you are loosing the attention, reconnect, help the person to get the focus back. The physiological reason our minds wander, even when we try to listen, is because the human brain is capable of processing words at a much higher speed than a person is able to speak. It is natural that at some point the interlocutor will stop listening and get distracted, not because of the conversation subject but because there are many processes unfolding in the background. The one who is talking is always slower than the one who listens.
Any type of expression — by the way the original meaning of the word is the action of pressing out, requires energy and sometimes when the balance between talking and listening is off, we cut ourself short in the process of reflection. Non-engagement is a choice towards self-enquiry and cultivation of inner belonging. Self-belonging makes us less dependent on the reactions of others. It allows us to drift away from a conversation without a fear of losing the connection. While letting go off one sense of belonging we gain another. Both are important and inseparable.
Due to various reasons we assign more value to external validation forgetting that the ability to reflect provides capacity to develop. Non-talking is also a space where we go where you can sit back and observe curiously. My personal balance if often shifted towards a talking place. Since recently I started to ask my body to help me to not engage. There are simple experiments that you can try and see how it affects your desire to speak. If you are planing to observe, lean back, keep your arms open and shoulders down and backwards. Leaning over a table forwards prepares you to act, therefore, you’ll be talking. Shift between the two postures, try to exaggerate them and see what happens. By exploring your own experiences you will be able choose what the talking will be for you in a particular moment and what do you want to do with it.