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Communication: Conscious Intentions vs. Unconscious Desires

By Sewa Singh

There is a subtle difference between having a conscious intention for the outcome of your communication, and having an unconscious desire for the outcome of your communication.

When you consciously intend an outcome, you take full responsibility for the response to your communication. When you desire an outcome, you place the responsibility for the outcome on the other person.

Here is an example of desiring an outcome:

The communication is, "Please give me that pencil." If the pencil is not received the blame goes on the person with the pencil. This leads to disappointment, frustration and/or anger towards the person with pencil and possibly towards yourself. Typical responses at that point might include asking the same exact question in a louder and/or irritated tone of voice, showing non-verbal signs of disappointment, frustration, anger, etc., or using more demanding language with the same question. Rarely do these actions effectively change the outcome or get to the heart of why the pencil is not received. Often the next stage is surrender or retaliation.

Here is an example of consciously intending an outcome:

"Please give me that pencil." When the pencil is not received, we are inspired to be more creative and try a new and different way to convey our need. We did not get the desired response, but no blame goes to the person with the pencil for being selfish or to oneself for being ineffective or powerless. Rather, we take 100% responsibility for the outcome of our effort. We may gather some useful information by asking questions such as, "What do you need to cooperate with my desire for you to give me the pencil?"

The success rate of getting the outcome we want is much better with conscious intent. If, after lots of creative attempts, we still have not been successful in getting the response we want, then we can rest assured that we have exhausted our creativity and feel good about our effort. Still, there is no blame to the other party or oneself.

We may not have created the outcome we wanted, but we learned a lot more about the situation, ourselves and the other person than when we unconsciously desire an outcome. It can still be very satisfying to exercise our creativity even if the outcome isn't exactly what we want. The new model takes away the temptation to have emotional attachment to desires and allows for many more possible outcomes to our communications.

Also important is to consider whether the outcome of our communication is to actually have an effect outside of ourselves, or is it to create some completely internal experience. Anger is especially confusing for people in this regard.

You may have heard someone give a sincere apology, yet the person who the apology is intended for simply goes on and on angrily, about how they need an apology. It is as if no apology is correct or sincere enough.

This is typical when a person is unconscious about the effect of their communication and whether it is supposed to be internal or external. If a person communicating wants an apology (external effect), there is no need for them to express anger in words, body language, or through the subtle energies. They simply ask for an apology.

If a person communicates that they want an apology, but actually they desire an internal experience (release of anger or internal discomfort), then all the apologies in the world will not be enough—if they don’t have an adequate venue for expressing the totality of their anger. And often when anger can be adequately expressed, there is no feeling of internal discomfort, so an apology is no longer even desired. It can be very frustrating and confusing for all involved.

Keep a flexible spine so that your chakra energy flow will naturally match and compliment the one you are communicating with. Use the skills developed in your meditation to consciously tell yourself in every communication, “My every action will be to elevate the other person. I will respond with kindness, caring, and compassion. May the Infinite and Unfathomable beauty of Nature flow effortlessly through this interaction.”

Sewa Singh Khalsa is one of Yogi Bhajan’s early students. He has acted as a counselor for many couples and individuals, basing his approach purely on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. He is also an accomplished artist and his work can be seen on He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Sewa Kaur.