Pirsig tackled the koan in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Ian McGilchrist takles the koan in describing left vs right brained thinking.

In modern times due to who knows what, but likely adderal and modafinil and social media and helicopter parenting and hip-hoppity music, culture is now more left brained and autistic and socially developmentally delayed.

XBTUSD asks:

What ways have you learned to connect with people (let’s not focus on women as I think it distracts from the point) deeply without words?

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Not focusing on women is a challenge for me, as I spend most of my socializing time with girls. I had a few years recently with guys helping my business, but that was the exception.

What immediately sprung to mind as non-female examples were also love related. Babysitting kids. Hugging my grandma as a kid.

Oh, I had a meditating guy friend with whom there was some difficult to describe non-verbal connection. He taught me “the eye trick”, of sort of blowing someones mind with a gaze. Later I would do that with women. One girl would complain and get tunnel vision. “Stop doing that!”

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That koan is running in the background. Some thoughts that probably relate to that koan came up:

My approach to therapeutic relationship talk: always do none. There is never anything to dig up or process or talk out. I have relationships, I don’t talk about having relationships. The therapy is in the doing. Not in the talking about how to do.

For instance my girl has some history that leads her to sometimes have an insecure attachment style. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes. Very rarely do I explicitly talk about the psychology of that, and then only very briefly with a light touch.

People, and especially girls, can use talk to alleviate anxiety, and it becomes an addiction. It goes nowhere. Believe me. It goes NOWHERE. A waste of time, that we don’t have enough of. You don’t talk your way into being at ease, content, happy, generous, loving.

You just practice those BEHAVIORS. It’s what you DO. NOW. That matters. Not what you think about what you do, or what you think about why you think about what you once learned to do. Just right now, being kind to each other. That’s it. Nothing else.

Very rarely a structure for mindfulness is needed. But usually not. Stating boundaries, gently and rarely, works 100 times stronger when you are both habitually kind. Otherwise talking becomes a game. Psychology as a game or puzzle is a dead end and a distraction.

People don’t change much. They can be at their best. Being at your best is largely an environmental thing. A habit thing. The habit of consistently generating fun lust, laughter, kindness. Habit of passion. In that space kinks work themselves out.

People can relax, open, grow, and learn. But the habit of trying to “work things out” through talking about difficult emotions prevents growth. It is directly counter productive. “Be here now”. “Just make the jam”.

My girl sometimes gets mentally overwhelmed and defensive to the point of being both cranky and unable to talk. Sometimes is too clingy or jealous. She learns through the environment, through seeing me back off patiently, not allowing my boundaries to be crossed but still kind.

Never a fight. Never an argument. Never a discussion about the right way to behave, or reasons why behavior isn’t ideal. Just slowly she re-patterns based on real lived experience. Her feeling of threat is not heightened, she gets space to regroup. It’s all about the space.

Mental health and learning to be kind isn’t about reprogramming your past or inner dialogue or your reasons. It’s not about verbal reasons or past patterns that need re-arranging with insights. It’s about the space. The space and your actions teach you; you swim in and give love into that space. You put your joy and lust and fun into the space. You share the space. That’s it. It’s not about anything else. Just this space right here, right now.

People FEEL that space. Even girls can shut the fuck up and share silent space. It’s MUCH more difficult for them, but they can, and they do. That’s often the best part. Just shutting the fuck up and sharing the space.

And related: The best way to change the deeply ingrained behavior of your partner is to find a new partner.

People don’t really change much. All you can do is work with whats there. When that’s very often frustrating, it’s a very real signal that social climbing is called for. The best way to change the deeply ingrained behavior of your partner is to find a new partner.

And then once you’ve cashed in your chips, and think you’ve got your best deal and bargain, you aren’t going to re-work your girl into a different one. Just get along and have fun. Nothing more than that.

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I will work on this post and add new ones in the coming weeks. I don’t expect to do better at this question than others have done, but giving a similar answer with different words and concepts can really help, all around.