KD: Thank you for agreeing to speak with me Dr. Wolf. I am curious about this phrase I have heard, “pulling the weeds in the garden of the heart.” Can you tell me what it means?
DW: This refers to a metaphor I read about, given by Srila Rupa Goswami, a sage who lived hundreds of years ago. Essentially it means cultivating the flowers of spiritual devotion, of purity. And just like in a garden, there are flowers growing, and there are weeds. As we cultivate our self realization, our understanding of our true identity as spiritual beings, it is important to be conscious of our weeds, and pulling our weeds.
We may engage in some powerful spiritual meditation, which waters the flowers of spiritual growth and devotion. At the same time, subtly, we develop a mentality of “I am so superior to those who just drink beer and go to the football game.” This arrogance gets in the way of our spiritual practice. Every moment of meditation waters the flowers, but it also waters the weed of arrogance. This strangles the flower of devotion.
KD: How does this concept relate to the principles of transformative communication that you teach?
DW: Communication is all pervasive, so there is communication with others, and there is communication with myself. And the quality of our communication is the quality of our life. Let’s say we develop the weed of resentment. This is very self sabotaging, it pollutes our inner atmosphere. I may not be aware of this, I may think, I am resentful because this person acted this way and it wasn’t fair. But when I look a little deeper I may realize I have been holding onto this resentment for months, or even years, because I get to feel superior. Or maybe I am holding onto resentment to avoid the courage it would take to actually call that person and have a conversation about why I feel hurt, and to engage in empathic, assertive, considerate communication. To avoid healthy communication that could transform conflict into closeness, I will stay in that resentment, and then I feel justified
to never talk to the person again. Another layer could be that I am not even aware I am resentful, because I may think I am such a transcendentalist. Therefore I am avoiding genuine spiritual process and honest transformative communication.
KD: What results have you seen in people’s relationships when they implement this tool into their communication processes?
DW: Profound relief, and freedom. Sometimes, something that has caused bitterness and resentment for years, can be cleared in just a few minutes. A heavy burden or heavy baggage can be unloaded in a matter of minutes with the principles of deep listening, and high level communication. This process of transformative communication creates a sacred space between people and within ourselves, and in that space oftentimes people see themselves. So they get to live in authenticity, in joy, and enriched. I have seen this with myself and with thousands of others.
KD: Thank you for such an inspiring, enlivening conversation about transforming the quality of our spiritual life with simple communication efforts.
DW: Thank you!