A friend of mine is dyslexic and so is her daughter. The other day, during a presentation her sister (the daughter’s) was giving, she read two words in Catalan that shocked her: perdre consciència. Which in English means “lose consciousness”.
This was not what she expected to hear in a presentation about cinematography. (Incidentally, I swear I must be a bit dyslexic too as I wrote “here” before “hear”, something that happens a lot, especially when my punctilious younger brother is watching!)
It turns out what was written was prendre consciència: literally “take consciousness” – quite the opposite! What the expression means is to actively become aware of something, or take note. Needless to say we all had a laugh about it afterwards, but it also got me thinking.
First of all, about my experience in both. I have a propensity for syncope…you’d probably call it fainting but my family and friends would assure you it’s rather more disturbing. It happens almost every time I have a problem with my stomach, though usually combined with other things. The last time, at Christmas, it was Thai food, as I seem to have lost my ability to handle it, living in a place in which hot, spicy food is not common.
My blood pressure suddenly drops through the floor and I pass out, sometimes before I get a chance to get horizontal, so I have bashed my head about a bit over the years! When I come round, it is very disorientating and I usually end up shouting. On severe occasions I can only compare it with a near-death experience, as in between it’s like the best, most calm dream ever and there is usually soft white light (though no tunnel).
I won’t go into more gory details here, but it always acts as a reset button, making me take time to recover and take stock. Much like the presentation wanted to say about the learning process required when attempting to reproduce frames from films by a particular cinematographer (she did an incredible job, by the way).
And becoming ever more conscious has been a quest of mine for over 10 years now, although I was, ironically, unaware what I was looking for at the beginning. Now it has reached the point where I feel compelled to share what I learn with my English students, using what I call Conscious Learning (surprisingly) and through my blog.
Part of it is mindfulness, but I don’t want to limit myself to that, as powerful as that concept is, and as central it is to consciousness, of course. For me, it is about becoming increasingly aware of all aspects of your being – mind, body, emotions and spirit, thereby accessing powerful forces to improve your life and the lives of all around you. It’s hard to explain the difference in a short post, but I hope that begins to do so.
In any case, all I really wanted to do here was use a funny story to make you think a bit about how small misunderstandings can have a big impact. Let’s become more aware of what people are really saying and not lose out through hearing what we think they are saying.