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Presence and Time

The idea of presence is easier to grasp intellectually than to achieve experientially.

Intellectually, presence is simply the ability to be in the present moment. You cannot be in the present moment if you are thinking about another moment. Therefore, to be in the present moment, you have to stop thinking. In order to stop thinking you have to step out of time. There are two types of time: clock time and psychological time. In the clock time world, the past and future exist. For example, in clock time we state specific times where we perform actions, such as visiting the movies at 7pm.

However, in psychological time, which is created by the mind, the past and future only appear to exist. In that reality, there is no past and there is no future. You cannot shake hands with the past and you cannot shake hands with the future. The only thing you can shake hands with is the present moment. The future and past are just thoughts inside your head. All there is and all there will ever be is the present moment.

Why has the mind created the concepts of past and future that thus traps you in time? The future is created because it provides the hope of salvation and the past provides a vessel to hold your identity. The reason you are not fully in this moment of now is because you believe that something is missing in your current moment and therefore you experience a sense of unfulfillment. You believe that if you acquire the things that are missing then your life i.e. the present moment will improve. The acquisition of things to make the present better is at the most a temporary gratification. Ultimately, there is nothing that you can add to this moment of now that will improve it. This moment of now is the best it is going to get. It is not going to get any better and initially, that concept is a very hard pill to swallow.

Why? Because in order to experience this, you must surrender and say ‘yes’ to your present moment. You must give up the future and fall in love with your present moment. You must stop resisting your present moment and merge into the present eternal moment of now. When you blend into the present moment you cease to identify your self as a separate ego, isolated from the rest. Instead, you have the realization that you are the space that contains the ego. This space could be called the higher self or the space of being.

The past on the other hand is a vessel created by the mind to hold your identity. Without this container to hold your past memories and experiences, who would you be? You would have to be the space of no thing or the space of nothingness. This concept presents a conflict within the mind because the purpose of the mind is survival and the survival of whatever it considers itself to be. The mind considers itself to be the sum total of everything that has been programmed into its database from birth until this moment of now. If the mind has identified itself to be its religion, nationality, values, beliefs,, political persuasions, sports teams, etc. and these things are threatened, it will thus defend itself, usually through an aggressive response, such as anger or fear. For better or worse, the mind wants all of your personality and traits to survive, Therefore, to say that you are not the content of the mind but rather that you are the space of nothingness is a direct threat to the survival of the mind.

Another challenge is that no two individual databases of knowledge are programmed the same. Your conditioned conceptual reality is entirely unique. This uniqueness creates the illusion of separation from the rest of mankind, which can be called your point of view or ego.

In order to transcend the past and thus step out of time, you must give up identifying yourself with various titles (e.g. as a Jewish New Yorker who likes the Yankees) and begin identifying yourself as the space encompassing those titles. To use an analogy of a room and furniture, you are not the furniture in the room. You are the space of the room that contains the furniture. Although everybody’s room contains different furniture, everybody’s room contains the same space

If you no longer identify yourself as the content of your database and you no longer believe that there is a better moment of now then you automatically will step out of time, reduce thinking and live your life more in the present moment of now. And, what will you discover in that moment of now? You will discover is peace, love, joy, bliss, compassion, happiness, relaxation and a sense of unity with all life.

These concepts of presence and time are distinctions I have been exposed to for many, many years. They represent guidelines, observations and tips I continue to learned and work on through experience and experimentation. I hope they prove useful and give you a fuller access into your moment of now.

Warm Regards,

Alan

Tip # 1: Diagnose the Disease

Using a medical analogy, you are like a tech doctor with a specific expertise, so before you prescribe make sure you diagnose. What is the business challenge or the disease the audience has? You want to be certain that the presenting problem of the customer matches the need for your skill. This will require two things. First, ask the person who invited you to the meeting or presentation the following question: “What is the problem the audience has that you think I am the solution for?” If their description of the need relates to your skill set, then the tech medicine you provide at the meeting will be appreciated.

Secondly, at the beginning of the presentation or meeting restate the purpose and the need of the audience. For, example, “I understand, and correct me if I am wrong, that the purpose of this meeting is to explain the concept VoIP (voice over IP). And, this is important to you because you are interested in reducing your phone bills and increasing profitability. Is that true?” You now have accomplished a major element in the communication process by establishing the WIIIFM (What Is In It For Me?) The audience now sees that you understand their concerns and that you can bring value to their business world.

Tip # 2 Dismantle the Firewall

It has often been said that the number one fear people have is the fear of speaking in the public domain. This fear inhibits the flow of communication both from you and from the audience. I equate it to having a 56k connection to the space. The role you must play is not only the subject manner expert but also the host and/or hostess of the conversation you are managing. The more comfortable and relaxed people feel, the greater will be the throughput and effectiveness of your communication in the space. The basic formula to increase your broadband connection to the audience is simply to get the audience to communicate. Every time they say something it pulls a brick out of their firewall and increases the rapport and intimacy. Take advantage of every opportunity to pull a brick. For example, arrive early, shake hands and introduce yourself to everyone in the room. Especially introduce yourself to the people you don’t know. Why? Because the attack you may fear will not come from the person you know but rather from the person you do not know. During the actual conversation rather then keeping the token yourself encourage other people to share in the spot light. Make the conversation a team sport rather than a solo performance. By doing this, you will dismantle firewalls and the space in the room will get lighter.

Tip #3 Dispel the Fog of Unclarity

It is very common to see knowledgeable IT professionals fail in their communication because they were unable to take the abstract, technical concepts and translate them into a form that was clearly understood by the audience. What are the barriers that block clarity in people? Years ago one of my teachers said there were two main barriers. The first and most important is the misunderstood word. If the person sees or hears a word or acronym that is not understood, it creates confusion and they will often disconnect from the conversation. For the most part, your conversation and power point slides are full of misunderstood words. If people see something they don’t understand they are often reluctant to ask for clarity because they don’t want to appear like a fool in front of others. Therefore, the IT professional needs to be very aware of the vocabulary they use and take the time to ensure the audience is clear on the important terms and acronyms.

The second barrier to clarity is the lack of the third dimension. What does this mean? The media you use to explain the technology are words, flip charts, white boards, power point slides, Webex, telepresence, etc. All these are one and two-dimensional forms. Physical props and mass have three dimensions. By explaining the key abstractions using props and mass you will notice that the fog of unclarity is dispelled. Therefore, if you really want the audience to understand your communication and be clear you need to become a Master of Mass. How do you do that? All around you in the meeting or presentation room there are physical objects like cups, pens, laptops, paper, phones, cords, tent card, markers, etc. Practice taking the abstract concept and explaining it using the physical objects. For example, the tent card becomes a firewall, the cup represents resources in the private network and the markers become hackers trying to attack the corporate resources on the other side of the firewall. Through practice you will be able to demonstrate any technical concept. There are many benefits from the side of the audience. They will have a clearer understanding of the abstraction, mass demos are great keep alive that attract their attention and they will feel you care about them because you are actually taking the time to package your communication using mass.

In conclusion, by practicing the tips of the three D’s (diagnosing, dismantling and dispelling) the quality of your communication during your presentations and meeting will improve dramatically.

The Broadband Connection: The Art Of Delivering A Winning IT Presentation

It’s no secret that many IT professionals hate presenting and are often very bad at it. Focusing on technical details and speaking in monotone, they can quickly lose their audiences’ attention and interest. Effective presentation skills are critical to the careers of IT professionals and the proper utilization of corporate resources.

The Broadband Connection will show IT professionals how to become articulate, effective and persuasive speakers, no matter how difficult the information being disseminated.

In The Broadband Connection, author and expert Alan Carroll, a transpersonal psychologist who has helped thousands of IT professionals worldwide evolve from nervous, insecure speakers into savvy, successful presenters, offers his proven strategies in this fresh and innovative step-by-step guidebook. Utilizing language and principles specific to the IT industry, the author teaches vital presentation skills in a familiar language the reader can identify with and understand. This book provides the tools to unleash the graceful speaker hidden inside every IT professional.

View on Amazon.com

The Greatest Gift You Can Give A Customer Part Three

Being a Master Listener is the greatest gift you can give your customer, your friends, your family, your children,your co-workers, etc. Why is this skill so rare? It is rare because you need to shift the focus off of you and put it on the other person. Just for the moment of interaction you need to surrender your belief structures and listen to the other person from the space of ‘Not Knowing’.In order to have a better understanding of this ‘Not Knowing’ concept imagine a circle and inside the circle contains all the knowledge of the universe which an article in National Geographic measured to be 11 billion light years in size. In the space of this 11 billion light years I imagine there are millions of galaxies with hundreds of millions of suns with millions of planets that probably support life. Therefore, if the circle contains all knowledge of the universe what percent of that knowledge do you contain right now in your personal database of knowledge? Just for argument sake let’s say .0001 percent and that probably is generous. Next question.What percent of this universal knowledge don’t you know? Most people will automatically respond and say all the rest. However, what you don’t know is also .0001 percent. The final question is…What is the 99.9998 per cent of universal knowledge? This huge per cent of knowledge is…You don’t know you don’t know. Let me explain this using a simple illustration When you are born you don’t even know you don’t know how to tie your shoes. Around age three you notice your Mom playing with the spaghetti on your shoes and she makes it into a bow knot.You now realize that you don’t know how to tie a bow knot.You keep practicing tying the knot and eventually you end up knowing how to tie the knot. Therefore, the knowledge process starts with…You don’t even know that you don’t even know, then you don’t know and finally…You know.

How is this connected to being a Master Listener? Because the way the vast majority of human beings listen to the thoughts of others is by comparing those thoughts with the content of their database. In other words they listen to assess, judge and evaluate everything they observe and hear. This is very counterproductive because you are then trapped in a conditioned conceptual reality with no hope of escape to the other 99.9998 per cent of universal knowledge. For example, when Einstein introduced his theory of relativity how many mathematician and physicist agreed with his theory? The answer was zero because when you compared the theory to what was known it obviously was wrong. But of course now, we all know that the theory was proven to be true and Einstein is regarded as a genius.

One of the key skills to become a Master Listener is to listen to all the things you observe and hear from the place of “Not Knowing”. You could describe this as being a listener for possibility rather than to be a listener for assessment. When you see or hear something that doesn’t immediately agree with your .0001 percent of knowledge don’t discard it as not being true. Be open and give those thoughts and events the space to exist in your reality. When Galileo says the earth goes around the sun don’t immediately laugh and call him a fool just because everyone knows the sun goes around the earth. Be open to the possibility that the earth goes around the sun.Say to Galileo that you always thought the sun goes around the earth. Why do you believe the earth goes around the sun? Allow the thought of sun being the center to exist in your conditioned reality in which the earth is the center. You will observe that one characteristic of a person who listens for possibility is that their sentences ends with a question marks and when you listen to assess your sentences end with a period.

In conclusion, the benefits of possibility listening i.e. “coming from not knowing” are enormous. It begins to unfreeze your conditioned reality and you can begin to escape from the prison of your mind. It also gives you access to the other 99.9998% of knowledge which is outside your mind generated prison walls. You can now live your life from the space of Being rather than to be condensed onto an individual point called the “I”, “Me” or “Ego”. In the next blog I will begin to distinguished the difference between the Ego and the Being.

As Soon As You Fight The Story In Someone Else You Become Part Of It Eckhart Tolle

Alan Carroll, author of The Broadband Connection: The Art of Delivering a Winning IT Presentation. Mr. Carroll is an Educational Psychologist specializing in the transpersonal field. He has been a preferred training vendor at Cisco Systems for over 16 years.

The Greatest Gift You Can Give A Customer Part Two

One communication objective in a sales situation is to be a Master Listener. Why? Because by listening you gain access into your customer’s world. You begin to understand the customer’s goals, challenges and needs. Once you understand the needs then you can determine if your features, functions and benefits will satisfy those needs.

I pointed out in Part One of the Greatest Gift that in the communication dialogue you are not fully present and you filter what is being said through your conceptual conditioning. Now, let’s explore the next step which is learning how to detach from that conditioning and be fully present with the customer. Eckhart Tolle, who wrote a very popular book, The Power of Now pointed out that there are only two things in this world…Space and things in space.

When we are born we have something within us which is analogous to a flash memory storage device (FMSD). At birth the device for the most part is empty. And then, throughout our lives every time we experience something or learn a new idea it is stored in our flash memory.

In addition to the FMSD, we have a psychological entity called a mind. The mind can also be referred to as the ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Ego’ or the “Little Voice’ inside your head. The purpose of the mind is survival and the survival of whatever it considers itself to be. Unfortunately and unconsciously, it has erroneously identified itself with the contents of the FMSD. So now when you are asked…”Who are you?” You will go to the FMSD and dump out some ‘things’ and say… this is who I am. For example, a download could be your name, nationality, family, school, football team, political views, religion, core values and beliefs. These are the ‘things’ you have identified yourself to be. You are so conditioned that your reaction to this statement maybe …”Of course this is who I am!” Bill Clinton in his address to the Ted Talks which can viewed on www.Ted.com described this identification with our beliefs and values the psychological plague of our times. He suggested rather than identify with our individual values and beliefs which keep us separate from each other we should identify with our common humanity.

According to Tolle there is another possibility. He asserts, that who we really are is not the ‘things’ in your FMSD but rather the ‘space’ which contains those ‘things’. This concept represents a major transformational shift in consciousness. To be able to observe that you have these ‘things’; and that you honor these ‘things’; and that you use these ‘things’ but you are not these ‘things’ requires a major shift in consciousness. If you can do this then you discover that who you are is space and not the things in the space.

The major barrier to experiencing this insight is that you need to detach from your identification with your FMSD i.e. your data base of thoughts. You need to surrender your point of view and let go of everything you believe to be true. You then listen to the world and everything in it from the space of ‘not knowing’. This is a major characteristic of a Master Listener and will be discussed in another blog.

You are now able to listen to another person’s communication without judging, assessing or evaluating it. You are fully present in the space of ‘Being’ which I refer to as the Broadband Connection to this moment of now. And, your response to that person’s communication does not come out of your conditioning but rather out of the space. The intelligence in the ‘space’ is far greater than the intelligence in your database of ‘things’.

Steven Covey points to this insight in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit number five is Seek First to Understand Rather Then to Be Understood. The job of the sales person is first to understand the customer’s world. You understand the customer’s world by momentarily giving up your world and entering into the customer’s world. Covey states that this is the most difficult habit to learn because it involves surrender which is defined as giving up of something completely after striving to keep it. And, giving up of one’s identity or point of view in the moment to recreate another person’s point of view initially, is not that easy.

In conclusion, I have pointed out that there is a distinction between ‘things’ and ‘space’. To achieve an awareness of ‘space’ you have to detach from the ‘things’ in your life. Once you can achieve ‘space consciousness’ you will notice that being a Master Listener is easy.

Alan Carroll, author of The Broadband Connection: The Art of Delivering a Winning IT Presentation. Mr. Carroll is an Educational Psychologist specializing in the transpersonal field.

He has been a preferred training vendor at Cisco Systems for over 16 years.

The Greatest Gift You Can Give A Customer Part One

To be effective in sales you need to be a Master Communicator. People often think about communication as just the out flowing of data . However, the Master Communicator knows it is not only skillfully being able to outflow the data but more importantly, mastering the ability to listen. True communication starts with the ability to listen without judgment and recreate the customer’s communication. In my 30 years of observing IT professionals communicate, it is obvious that listening and recreation skills are very weak.

I was talking with one senior IT sales manager in Asia and after all his years of experience he decided to write a book on sales. His title was…”Shut Up and Listen”.

The greatest gift you can give a customer or any other human being is to listen and recreate their communication. What does this mean and why doesn’t it happen?

True listening is ability to be in present time and create a non-judgmental space in which the other person can communicate into. Being present and non-judgmental is a very rare skill. Why?

First, few people are able to be in present time. They are always thinking about the future or the past. If you don’t believe me, do your own research. Imagine you had three bottles and every time a thought popped into your consciousness you would label it as a thought from the past, a thought about the future or a present time thought. At the end of the day empty out each of the bottles. What do you think you would discover? What you would discover is that almost every thought you have is either about the future or the past. The present time bottle, for the most part, would be empty. Although you operate as if, and believe you are in, present time all day long.

To achieve a state of presence or level of consciousness (which I refer to it as a Broadband Connection to this moment of now) is doable. In the sales call here are three things you can do to move into this state of awareness.

One, before you speak give yourself the conscious command to lock on to the customer’s eyes as often as appropriate and form a little VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel between you and the customer. In this instance, you are giving yourself a conscious command to do something which will automatically increase your level of consciousness.

Two, be aware of your breath. From time to time consciously take a deep breath. You can only consciously take a deep breath in present time. A side benefit of conscious breathing is it will relax your body. When your body is relaxed you have great access to your database of thoughts.

Third, be aware of your feet connecting to the floor. Consciously connecting the eyes and feet form a solid OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) physical Layer One connection between you and the customer. You are now grounded in the space and this will maximizes the flow of communication current between you and the customer.

If you choose to practice these things, what you will first notice is that you were not consciously connected to the eyes of the customer before talking, you were not taking conscious breaths during the sales call and you had no awareness of your feet connecting to the floor.

In other words you were not fully present in that moment of now. Through conscious practice you will discover that one of the greatest portals you have to enter into and stay in the vast sea of presence is your physical body

The second reason why this skill of listening is so rare is because we all live in a conditioned conceptual reality and don’t know it. We live under the delusion that we are independent and have free will. The conditioning process starts from birth and you are totally unconscious of it. For example, your are given a name, a nationality, a religion, an education, you are told that the earth is the center of the solar system and that it is flat. This conditioning creates the filter through which you listen to the world. You automatically judge, evaluate and assess every event that occurs in your field of now by comparing it to your conditioned database of beliefs, values and knowledge. For example, right now my words are an event occurring in your field of now. You have been judging, evaluating and assessing the words I have written by comparing them to your own database of knowledge. You have been saying to yourself that these thoughts are true, not true, interesting, ridiculous, waste of time, fantastic, etc.

If my “conditioning” statement above is true, then you have to conclude that what you think is an objective interpretation of what is being said by the customer is actually a subjective interpretation because your conditioning skews your listening. This is why true listening seldom happens. In the next article I will share with more about being a master listener and expanding your ability to listen without judgment.

Alan Carroll, author of The Broadband Connection: The Art of Delivering a Winning IT Presentation. Mr. Carroll is an Educational Psychologist specializing in the transpersonal field.

He has been a preferred training vendor at Cisco Systems for over 16 years.