Reading and Listening (Exposing Yourself to the Outside)

Two halves of a whole, the inside and outside. We desire and require a stable relationship with both. There is an outside and an inside and the outside is on the inside and the inside in the outside, and they are both eternally separate and intertwined. Sometimes the balance becomes uneven and we isolate ourselves, become lost in our internal world. 

This can result in prejudices, ignorance, apathy, interpersonal problems, motivation issues, and more. We’ll be forced to inaccurately project ourselves onto everyone because we have no frame of reference for anything other than ourselves. We won’t know how others work and we won’t know how we work, because the mind cannot understand itself with the help of the outside. 

Two external actions will bring yourself up out of the internal cage: reading and listening to what others say. Not to say the ‘outside’ is exclusive to the opinions of people, but this philosophical and metaphorical outside isn’t just the world outside your home— it’s the consciousness that exists outside your own. This includes the wildernesses and nature (which you can read about connecting with here and here) but when regressed with ourselves, reacclimating to those of your own species is key to opening back up. 

We must learn to expose ourselves to means of expression. Encountering them isn’t the same as absorbing them. How often do words go in one ear and out the other when someone speaks to you? Do you only skim texts and emails? 

Language is a precarious and fallible thing. It will never be a perfect form of expression or communication, short of mind reading, nuances will always be lost in the exchange. We must learn to absorb and expose ourselves to communication in many different ways to unlock ourselves. 

Sometimes it might at first mean reading a piece of art such as a painting, deciphering the message it has. Language and communication isn’t confined to written or spoken words. Letters and constants are symbols. Reading symbols can be done with analyzing sculptures, being perceptive of body language, watching movies, paying attention to how people dress or present themselves. 

You’re reading right now in at least three different ways, reading into what I express, reading into yourself, and reading these words.

Look into other blogs, read autobiographies, read the news, read about other people and other places. If you struggle with reading, listening to audiobooks and podcasts is exact to the action of internalizing words with your eyes. We have to keep an awareness of how other people express opinions that are similar to ours, the background differing opinions, as well as how people live similar and different lives to our own. This is how we grow our life and how we live. 

Beyond all this though, listen to the people in your life. Truly hear what they have to say. These are people that have an impact on you and being aware of them and what they think and do is important. We can’t understand them if we don’t try, we won’t know what’s going on in their lives, and we won’t notice the good or the bad. We’ll take for granted the wonderful qualities in people and we’ll overlook the toxic and damaging. 

Regressing inward doesn’t mean we aren’t affected by the affairs of the outside, simply we won’t understand or be aware of it. Learn to be aware. Learn to understand. 

Fully face the outside.

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