– Notice When You’re Listening, and When Not…
Listening is important. (So is the wisdom of listening.) Listening helps us connect with others, and ourselves. But even when you don’t listen well, all is not lost – as long as you notice. As I hope to illustrate in my personal example…
[Last updated: July, 2016 – post summary]
Wisdom of Listening: An Introduction
So what follows are not the wisest words of wisdom.
And that’s because they come from a place of wanting to help, rather than wanting to listen. Still, I say in relation to my non-words of wisdom, waste not want not!…
Welcome to my example of how NOT to listen.
How I Didn’t Listen To My Friend (Email)
So, as I’ve said, these are not the wisest of words (in the non-listening) email below. They came from a place of wanting to help, even though that person hadn’t actually asked me to help – she was simply sharing her current experience of life with me.
As a ‘carer’ of others, a ‘wanting to help’ type, I often seek out opportunities of ‘reward’, situations where I can ‘help’. Even if that help has not been asked for, if I do not have permission to help. Hmm… oops!
Because, of course, the best way to help anyone, including yourself: listen – deeply listen to them. And you’ll know what, if anything, to do next…
So let me share with you an email I sent to my somewhat distressed friend, recently. I’ll call her Laura (but that isn’t her name). And this isn’t an example of deep listening…
Forgive me for what I share with you below. It’s the best way I know how to help you but words are not the best way to help a person. Not that anyone needs help, they just need pointing back towards their power. And that’s why I share these following words with you, Laura. Not out of presumption. Or superiority. But out of care and knowing this is the best I can do, right now, the best way I know how to sow a seed…
I’m really sorry for where you find yourself, right now. And for where you’ve found yourself ever since I’ve known you, to be honest. Nothing seems to have changed for you, and that must be very frustrating for you to say the least.
I know I’ve shared ‘answers’ and ‘advice’ with you, via email. I meant well. And I’m sure other friends have done the same. And they meant well. But nothing really helps, other than the connection you feel via the helping.
Wisdom of Listening: ‘Impossible Situations’
Your situation is not impossible, Laura, I know this to be true. It just feels like it is. The outside world is not working as you’d like it, and neither is the inside world. ALL I know about human beings is that as much as they need companionship, purpose, and a safe space for them to be able to express who they are, what is MORE important than this is for people to experience themselves – who they really are, the source of their love and their wisdom and their okayness.
And this is REALLY difficult to experience, nigh on impossible, with an overactive thinking mind trying to work things out all the time. An over-thinking mind that is finding fault with the present moment, with others and with themselves; a mind that is never resting or trusting or letting go; a mind that never allows space or silence or surrender; a mind that is desperate to not experience pain and loss and anything negative that life will always have to offer (as well as joy and love and connection) for fear it will be overcome and overburdened and all will be lost.
The thing is, all will not be lost – all will be gained. But it just doesn’t feel like that to you. And I dare say it wouldn’t feel like that if it were my experience I was talking about rather than yours.
I know you forget your troubles from time to time. And I know that this is a wonderful blessing to you, that you feel more normal in these moments. And I’m guessing that you put these moments down to connection with others, to being in nature, to being listened to. But it is not these outside events that are making the difference, it is quite simply the fact that you have stopped thinking about your troubles.
Wisdom of Listening: ‘Impossible Thinking’
It’s not your life circumstances that are the problem, it’s what you think about them and that you can’t stop thinking about them…
Those on spiritual journeys, like you and I are/have been on, can often get hoisted by their own pitard (!!) – can often get punished by the very journey that they’re on. There is so much to think about. There is so much to this universe. So many “spiritual solutions”. And the answer could well lie in understanding one more thing.
But the answer comes from not thinking quite so much, and feeling the love and connection you yearn to feel that always comes from inside, always.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you, Laura, and I apologise for sharing words, for stimulating your thinking, and for talking at you somewhat uncaringly and all-knowingly.
I just know nothing is wrong with you. (Other than you think that there is.) I do know there is much pain in your life that has yet to be fully felt, too. I know that this pain HAS to be felt for you to release yourself from the stuck place you are in. I know that feeling this pain is natural, will happen automatically just as soon as you let down your defences (your over-thinking). And I know you, like me, will do almost anything to continue to think and to continue NOT feeling your pain.
Wisdom of Listening: One Thought Away…
But, one day, one moment, one thought – this might change. I plant that seed now. For that moment, that day, that thought. I plant that seed now.
I’m sorry for where you find yourself Laura. I’d rather share these thoughts of your life (and my life, and everyone’s life) in person, but I find myself here and you there so it’s just words I send. For now.
Happy to meet up. To not talk about this. To just be in your company. These words I share with you, without your permission to share – sorry – are what I would say to someone else about you, are what I would say to someone else about them, are what I would say to someone else about me.
These words sum up the problem with humanity right now, the problem we’ve ALWAYS had…
“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world”
– Syd Banks.
Ahhh, sorry Laura, sorry. Wish you a loving, held and happy Wednesday! And if none of that comes your way, I’m wishing that you are able to think a bit less, and take those thoughts you do have less seriously. Nothing that you think is true. Nothing. It just seems that way sometimes. To you and me both…