How many of you are like me and don’t always really listen to what others are saying? While someone else is talking we are often formulating our response. It can be a rebuttal of something they said or an approval or a story we just thought of….whatever. The point is we are not really listening.
When my children were little I learned a skill called “active listening.” It has to do with repeating in some way what a person said. For example if I said “I would like to go to the beach today” you might respond “you are thinking about us going to the beach?”
This kind of listening lets the person know that they have truly been heard. I did it so much with my children that they started saying “you’re doing that thing again!” It did work though most of the time. I was able to get a clearer idea of what was going on in their minds.
I read something recently that said that this is a technique used by the FBI and that they call it mirroring.
It has occurred to me that being really heard is one of the reasons that the Word Press community is so compelling. By reading one an another’s thoughts carefully we are able to respond to the true thoughts of another. There is no question that we hear or that we are also heard. Reading the thoughts, problems, victories, joys and sorrows give us the ability to really absorb what has been said and respond.
That’s what makes this community so precious.
And try using mirroring or active listening and see what happens.
Today I had to attend a class to re-certify as a mediator. The class was helpful and interesting but I realize I am no longer used to sitting in class all day. At one point I stood up for a while to just get out of the chair. We were given breaks but the first one was long in coming.
It is interesting when many things that you have done in life enrich whatever you are doing presently. I have noticed this happening several times in my life. It’s as if I am being prepared for the next thing to come. Today was mostly about listening, discovering what lies beneath problems, and helping to find common ground between people. I have used and taught communication skills many times in my life and this was mostly a endorsement of what I have already learned. I will be using it in a different way and learning that was helpful.
If we are truly living we are learning all the time. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. Maybe from TV or books or other people. It is interesting to think at the end of the day about what is new and how can you use it.
Nothing is ever wasted. As you age you learn something you thought was useless 10 years ago is just what you need now. Absorb everything you can in life and somehow it will be used.
A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does. Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)
This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.
She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.
f and why I struggle to spend more time in silence
I have always been a fan of the mystics. They have such a deep connection with the “unknowable.” This piece by Richard Rohr has helped me to see that my thinking is totally non-linear and more in sync with the mystics. I have never seen things as totally right or wrong, left or right. I have always had an issue with totally scientific thinking. I don’t think it is wrong I just think that there is more. There is the intangible piece that I see (much more dimly than the true mystics). I think most of us have had a moment when the “unknowable” has broken through and we see “beyond.” It is what I seek to see more of and why I struggle to spend more time in silence and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.
and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.
“When I use the word “mystical” I am referring to experiential knowing instead of just intellectual, textbook, or dogmatic knowing. A mystic sees things in their wholeness, connection, and union, not only their particularity. Mystics get a whole gestalt in one picture, beyond the sequential and separated way of seeing that most of us encounter in everyday life. In this, mystics tend to be closer to poets and artists than to linear thinkers. Obviously, there is a place for both, but since the European Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there has been less and less appreciation of such seeing in wholes. The mystic was indeed considered an “eccentric” (off center), but maybe mystics are the most centered of all, which leads them to emphasizing love as the center, the goal, and the motivating energy of everything.
The word mystic is not a title of superiority. It’s rather that mystics see things differently. Mystics are nondual seers. They don’t think one side is totally right and the other side is totally wrong. They can see that each side has a part of the truth. When people on either side of any contentious issue cannot love one another, it means they don’t have the big message yet.” Richard Rohr
Music is very important to me. I took piano lessons for years and studied with a concert pianist. It was there I discovered that I didn’t want to be a concert pianist. I just wanted to play for enjoyment. I sang in choirs and for 10 years was a choir director. I think that music moves me more than anything else. I can sit in church or in the car or wherever and find tears rolling down my cheeks. Once, spending three weeks in the hospital, only the Brandenburg Concerto would comfort me. This has a wonderful explanation at the beginning.
I cannot stay still when the rhythms of music move me. I have to tap my toes or move my hands. I MUST do something! I don’t understand people who sit perfectly still. I know that their enjoyment may be equal to mine but they are STILL!
My father was the same way. He loved Dixieland Jazz and took me with to bars as a child to listen to the greats. No one said anything. I think they knew he wasn’t plying me with liquor but with music.
There is so much wonderful music in the world. I know I will not live long enough to absorb it all. I want to develop a playlist for when I am fading out of this world. I want to hear the music I love and take it with me.
One day, a while back, I was at the beach and in the bright sunlight I happened to look at something with only one eye open. I saw the color of the object clearly. For some reason I closed that eye and looked through the other one. The object’s color was a different hue. It could still be called the same color but there was a remarkable difference. That’s when it hit me that not only do we each see color differently but our eyes can see things differently.
None of us sees things in the same way. Each of us brings with us our lifetime of experiences. The things we have seen and been through have given us our own perspective. So how can I expect someone to grasp a problem in the same way that I do?
Years ago my husband and I went to marriage encounter. It is a wonderful program to enhance good marriages. We were taught a tool for getting closer to what someone else is feeling. It is hard to describe but is like bouncing back and forth “Does it feel like” until you find a common emotion to describe an event or issue.
For example I might say: does it feel like going to a friend’s funeral and the other person might respond no but it feels like your beloved dog died. I might then say I know what that feels like. It is frequently is a longer process but that is the idea. The whole things is based on discovering feelings.
I once knew someone who had great difficulty accepting a male image for God. I later found out she was abused by her father.
Getting to the root of someone’s feeling helps us to understand them. We can develop a bond with those who have suffered similar problems. That is why support groups work.
Here on Word Press we find support from others who really understand. The community is important. Thank you to all those who share feelings openly and offer support and understanding. You are important!
Tomorrow I go to do a Mediation. I volunteer as a mediator for court mandated (and sometimes chosen by people) help with settling problems. Doing this brings an interesting perspective to my own life.
Working with the cases I see opens a world where pettiness and anger are often primary. Money, of course, is at issue but sometimes the silliness is overwhelming. Compromise is not a word that most of the clients have any knowledge of. You would think that the aggravation of filing a suit, having to go to mediation, not settling and then going to court would make someone think logically.
In most cases that I have mediated logic has gone out the window and the opponents are functioning from feelings alone. (Of course this is not the case when the case is about money owed to credit card companies or others similar.) I am talking about two people who cannot settle their differences because of some underlying emotion.
Compassion, understanding and listening are important things to learn and use. Many times just listening allows us to hear what is underneath and find out where the real pain is. Listening to both sides is critical to the mediation process and in our lives. Real listening is truly absorbing not only what is being said, but what is not said.
I feel useful helping but I have also learned to value the opportunities that show up in my own life where kindness and understanding can defuse the problems. I can see the times where my own willingness to compromise has solved the issue. I am not patting myself on the back but being grateful for learning that, the majority of the time, there there are better ways to handle things than to file a law suit. Sometimes people just need to be heard. This requires someone actually listening.
At the beginning of this blog I wrote about my journey to worry less. I had wonderful plans for ways to be more prepared for the times when anxiety crops up and takes control of my life. The thing is I have not followed my plan. During this time of relative peace I have let it go. Knowing what is at stake I really have to get with the program. My meditation, prayers etc. don’t take that long why do I shy away from them?
Spending quiet time with yourself is not easy. It can be so revealing of things about ourselves we don’t want to know. I know someone who says that he can never quiet his mind and that it causes so much stress. We do have to learn to experience meditation and silence long enough to get the mind to quiet. It takes time and effort.
It is just that silence and quieting of the mind that can make the most impact. In discovering ourselves the important thing to remember is that the past is past. What we do today…in this moment….is what really matters.
God is always with us in the silence. We spend so much time talking to God that we forget to listen for him in the silence. Maybe the reason we don’t hear him speak more is that we don’t listen.