LISTENING THROUGH LOVE
Listening through love is the act of taking the other person completely into your heart and listening to them with your whole being. YOU RECEIVE THEM AND REMAIN OPEN AND NEUTRAL - NOT REACTIVE OR INTERFERING. YOU ARE THERE TO LISTEN, NOT TO FIX ANYTHING. Basically you are allowing them the space to share, be vulnerable, and feel seen and heard as well as loved by you.
- A partner to practice with - they can be willing and aware of this exercise or you can practice when in conversation without them aware of your motive to "listen through love."
- No expectations - let go of how you think this will play out.
- No defenses - open yourself completely to the experience.
- An opportunity to hear them out. This can be a tough subject where they may be blaming or venting to you or something lighthearted. You can choose which experience you want to practice with.
DROPPING YOUR DEFENSES
This is a process of de-armoring yourself.
You don't need the sword or the shield. Whatever your partner says doesn't mean anything about you. Their words do not define you and their perception of you is their own. They are simply sharing their experience, their perspective, their wounds, their triggers. They are letting you into THEIR life.
You are not required to fix or shift them. You are here to witness and take them in. You are here to understand where they are coming from.
Even if their words feel aggressive or they are blaming (this can be the most triggering experience and makes it difficult to maintain whole body listening) keep listening and keep holding a space of love and safety.
Be mindful of your internal walls and notice when you start to close up and push them away energetically.
WHOLE BODY LISTENING
In this exercise you will need to drop into your heart and surrender your mind. Maintaining neutrality is important. You are here to listen to your partner speak, not to share your opinion or convince them to see your side as well. You are here to understand your partner and your partner only. We are leaving judgements and opinions at the door. There is no winner or loser in this activity. This is also not a conversation and you will not be replying except to say "thank you."
You will use your whole body to listen. Look at your partner in the eye, try not to fidget, relax your shoulders and hold your partner's hands (this helps you stay focused on your partner). Aligning our body with the task at hand helps with focusing.
When we use our heart while listening it encourages empathy and perspective.
You will be using your mindfulness, focus and awareness to hear what is being said but also what is not being said.
You'll want to pick up on:
body language and what that is telling you
inflection and which words are emphasized and why
tone and what emotions are carried on the sound waves
IS THIS SOMETHING YOU RECOGNIZE? DID THIS PERSON OR SOMEONE ELSE SPEAK AND BEHAVE IN A SIMILAR WAY SO THAT YOU CAN DISCERN WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON?
with Thich Nhat Hanh
Who in you life could use your compassionate listening? Would you benefit from compassionate listening? How can compassionate listening change your home? your community ? the world?
Journal it out.
Practice it in our home.