Words, as many masters and teachers explain, get in the way. I wish I could just leave this entry at the Title. However, until we understand the power of intention, we can not begin to understand how it fuels our voice. If our words are the plate of our communication, then intention is the fork, the spice, and the nutrition. It is singularly the most important piece to our ability to communicate effectively with another person.
Intention is either conscious or unconscious. There have been times in my life when my intention is one thing and I try to disguise it in my communication style. What happens in every instance, however, is that my intention is always heard first. I don't know when this idea came to me...I am quite sure it is from personal experience...but I realized one day that if a piece of luscious dark chocolate is laced with arsenic, it will still kill. In the same way, if your intention is laced with fear, hurt, cultural entitlements, emotion, anger, judgment, arrogance, prejudice, unkindness (you know, the messy emotions of life that are trying to get our attention!!) ...even if those emotions go unspoken, they are the intention with which you speak. And sometimes, those intentions are so buried, we don't even consciously realize they exist.
When I am conscious of my intention, my confidence is higher, my compassion meter soars, I speak more clearly. And while my point of view may or may not change, and even if I disagree with another, it can be a passing exchange. I cannot say I always do this...especially when I feel frightened or threatened. But when I do it makes all the difference. I think of all the times I allowed my emotion to trump my intention. It takes humility to turn and face, with deep honesty, the shadows of our intentions. Just ask yourself, "What is my intention for this day?" I encourage you to listen to your heart and soul and then turn toward your intention and shake hands with it. Make it your best friend, the roots your life is lived by. Your voice will sing sweetly and be heard!