With all the bad news these days, it is time for good news. The good news is and has always been the same. No matter how rotten things have been down here on earth we have been given love. It is up to us if we really want to love deeply or not and we usually get what we deserve in this regard. If we have love and give it to others it does come back. As we give, so shall we receive. It is incredibly sad that so many of us never reach for the heights of love after being hurt so many times.
The love we have in our hearts is the only thing we can leave the planet with and in the end nothing else really matters. Love is what nurtures us and keeps us noble and sound. When life gets rougher it is often a tough type of love that is needed—certainly it’s needed when it comes to providing security for one’s family and other loved ones.
I have written several books about love but my first one, The Marriage of Souls,I never published openly except in my Survival Medicine compendium, which has all my writings up to 2008. The Marriage of Souls is a visionary book that provides a pathway to how the most divine love can manifest in relationships and marriage. It opens a vista onto possibilities and potentials for love; but most importantly, it offers a “quality” of love that most of us need, want and dream of, a pure love that will touch our souls.
But sadly, as a race, we have not learned the lessons of love and that is taking civilization into a trench.
The Psychology of Listening
Listening is the ecology of being; it opens the doorway to the heart. Listening creates trust between beings; listening creates love.
Nothing shows off the quality of our love better than our listening skills and in essence listening is what keeps people together. People who listen to each other end up wanting to be and stay together for nothing connects us better than our listening to each others world of feelings and experience. Listening is love and love is listening, they are qualities of being that reflect each other perfectly. Love does not exist in human relationships without deep listening and yet we delude ourselves all the time about this, for profound listening is something that few people have either experience or training with.
Wherever you find a poverty of communication you will find a poverty of love, and wherever you find a poverty of love you will find a poverty of deep listening.
Most people have no idea how difficult it is to listen well. Deep listening, until it becomes well modeled and anchored by an open heart, is an exercise in attention and by necessity hard work. Listening to the real meaning, feelings and being of another does not come easy or naturally to a mind full of itself. Listening takes will simply because we have to work to pay attention or strain against the prevailing winds of the cluttered mind that is just too noisy to hear much, too selfish or too busy with itself to care. The will and the effort necessary for real listening to take place go into keeping the consciousness clear while listening and this is difficult.
The most important way in which we exercise our love is by listening. Empathy is the capacity to listen with the pure heart, to hear what there is to hear, to merge and feel all there is to feel; purely one and into the world of another. We neither project nor reject the essence of another. Romantic love is effortless compared to the discipline of true love and the art of listening.
The pure heart is a perfect listener; it is totally open and receptive and can feel the world of another through its capacity of empathy and compassion. The mind on the other hand loves mostly to listen to itself. It is usually so obsessed with itself it cannot get out of its own way. The heart on the other hand can listen so deeply that it can actually penetrate into the inner world of the speaker and merge temporarily with or become one with that person. The heart has an ability to listen past the word level to the being level. The heart listens to the meaning behind the words and thus avoids much of the confusion that is inherent in normal levels of semantic dialogue.
Empathy marks the deepest halls of listening for with it we listen to the actual feelings behind the words being said.
There is nothing more provoking to our emotions and feelings than having our feelings go unheard. Non-listening destroys marriages fast yet people still do not pay attention to this basic life skill. Happy and successful relationships are marked with people who show each other that they are interested in listening to the other.
To listen is to suffer because we do not want to listen to anything that might require a change. To listen is to change. We cannot change without listening. Listening implies a change. We need to change just to listen. HeartHealth
Deep listening is healing. And its power to heal is spread evenly between the person being listened to and the listener. When we feel heard at a deep level of being we find some magical ability to re-perceive our world in a new way and go on. Carl Rogers said of this, “It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. How confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.” Deep listening brings all parties to the edge of their vulnerability, that place where we begin to tap into the deeper intelligence of the heart.
The price of non-communication is conflict. Most of the suffering of the world, the conflicts within our inner worlds and the greater conflicts in the external world of societies and nations is a result of misunderstandings that arise from the poverty of communication. The path of risking communication on these deepest levels is a path that will draw a person closer to their own heart, closer to becoming a bigger person, a more selfless being, a more loving and caring being.
Real listening requires that we get our own reactions and responses out of the way in order to hear exactly what the other person is saying. The first step is to quiet the feelings and thoughts jangling around inside of us and to put aside all reactions and “tapes” playing in our heads, spinning tunes of past feelings and ideas and future expectations. - Christopher Hills