Ms. Tippett: You've talked about having an allergy to ideas that are detached from experience. I mean, this is absolutely fundamental to my work too, to see what happens to these insights when they are attached, when they're intertwined with humanity and human experience. Could you give me an example of a person, a conversation, a teaching that you've encountered lately or that's on your mind that just — that illuminates that dynamic?
Ms. Simon: Well, here's one of the things that I think is interesting, which is sometimes when we're engaged in a conversation, we think the thing that we're going to learn the most from is what somebody says, so we're listening to their words and we can read a transcript of it. But recently, I gave a talk at a woman's event and afterwards somebody came up to me and they said, "Can I tell you what the most important part of your talk was?" I was like, yeah, sure, whatever, you know, yeah, OK.
And she said, "It was when you paused. What was happening?" Then I paused again and I tried to remember. And Reggie, the teacher that I work with, one of the things that he said to me recently was how, in any situation, you can always ask the question, where's the emptiness in this? Where's the emptiness in this? And in any moment or situation where we find this gap, where we find this sense of everything's not just one long sentence that isn't even punctuated — and sometimes our days feel like that. You know, we wake up, we know we have so much to do and then we go to sleep at night.
Ms. Tippett: Well, and whatever gaps there are we — are filled — they're just filled for us, right?
Ms. Simon: Exactly. And yet, it's in those moments where actually there's a quietude. That's when new life and fresh ideas can come through us and into the situation. I think that's a lot actually where humor comes from too, some of the greatest humorists. Because how do they come up with this stuff on the spot? It's not the rehearsed comedic monologue.
It's something, you know, unusual that's happening in that moment because there's a Swiss cheese-like quality, if you will, to the way that they are in the moment. There's this openness, these gaps, these holes. And I think that's actually a way that we can be in situations and then we become actually this conduit for fresh ideas that are responsive — wholly responsive to the situation at hand.