The Power of Comparisons
Recently, I had the good fortune of reading a thought-provoking quote from the Dalai Lama.
What I love about this piece is how each idea is in alignment with the rise and fall of our breath — positive statement inhale, negative exhale. Breathe as you read, give it a try...
"We have bigger houses, but smaller families:
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness.
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but we have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever,
but we have less communication.
We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods, but slow digestion;
tall man, but short character;
steep profits, but shallow relationships.
It is a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room."
By the time you say the last word, it feels as if you've just completed a brief meditation. The brilliance of this message is not only its simplicity, but also the comparisons of today's societal issues contrasted by images big and small. These images placed side by side allow us, the audience, to contemplate the deeper emotional meaning and how these words relate to our own lives.
As storytellers simple comparisons reinforce our message and allow us to share our story in fresh and unexpected ways. When we leave blank spaces — room to breathe, really — we not only change the pace of our speech, but we also encourage the audience to experience the subtext more profoundly.
The contrast of opposites fosters listening — listening not only to the speaker's story, but most importantly, it can help us clarify our own beliefs.