Life is changing and so must we to adapt; even to survive. That should be no problem in a universe that is changing from moment to moment but alas, for the human ego, which resists change, things do not go so well. We see this battle in our daily life in terms of our willingness and ability to listen. Often we do not survive conflicts on an intimate level. Thus divorce rates are incredibly high. And now we will pay dearly for all the big things we will not respond nor listen to and there will be all hell to pay.
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.
My wife recently traveled and left me alone with our two younger children. The other four are away at school. I do not remember how the conversation started but both Julia (13) and Nicholas (11) confronted me directly saying, “You don’t listen to us,” to explain why they always lapse into speaking Portuguese. I was astonished for really it was one of the first direct communications I ever received from them.
Being a listening psychologist, I took their communication seriously and joyfully and things changed between us for the better. I was actually thrilled to get such a direct confrontation and it certainly set the tone for the two weeks we were alone together. Being willing to be wrong means overly much in life for it really is the only way to be right.
So I recommend we enjoy when people point out to us a wrongness for it is the royal road to rightness. Certainly it is the only cure to arrogance. After all the most essential attitude necessary for real listening and communication between beings is humility.
The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. And the best way to understand people is to listen to them. Nothing shows off the quality of our love better than our listening.
In my essay on God last week I mentioned that I was going to return to my early work called The Marriage of Souls. The subtitle to the book was The Second Coming of Pure Love. My book Love and Sex Medicine holds much of the essence of The Marriage of Souls.
Couple Therapy Done By the Couple
What most distinguishes my marriage is the 22 years of psychological and spiritual therapy we do with each other as a matter of habit. We have refined both our individual selves and our marriage to the point where all conflicts have left us, though to be honest we did have great struggles to overcome because we are both strong minded people.
As such we will offer therapy for married and unmarried couples of all sexual orientations since the Marriage of Souls sees everyone as deserving of pure love. Our basic aim is to teach couples to use their love and conflicts as engines of growth. There is a limit to the normal therapy set, of seeing someone once a week with a person who does not know you as much as your significant partner who lives with you does. Yet couple relationships are difficult because there is no third party to help out with our conflicts and to confront the poverty of our love (listening).
We stress learning how to communicate and listen thus cultivating the willingness to look at one’s self through the eyes of the one you love the most. We teach couples to do couple therapy as a routine part of their relationship.
Once we have realized true love in our hearts
and have shared that love with someone else
that pure bond of love is indestructible.
It does not matter if we find that love
with our lover or with our children,
a brother or a friend.
What is important is that we find that love
and use it as our principle model of love.
All relationships lend us the opportunity to demonstrate
the true quality of our soul.
Love needs to be made manifest and the only way for
humans to demonstrate the reality of love is in relationship to each other.
A Change In My Social Bones
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I have been pretty much living the life of a recluse in Brazil, but never have felt too lonely because I am surrounded by the love of my family. After 14 years we have finished building our Sanctuary Retreat Center so we will soon begin the above work in our paradise in the central highlands of Brazil. We live in a deep valley surrounded by rivers and about 100 families, the majority of which are locals whose origins go back to the days of slavery. Some estimates suggest there were up to 5,000 Quilombola communities across 24 states during 17th and 18th century colonial Brazil, with many hidden in remote parts of the thick jungle to conceal them from slave-masters and officials.
The locals in my town tried a few years ago to organize themselves but failed. The new social bones I am growing have to do with lending my support to the local people to reorganize themselves. Though many of the foreigners living here might not enjoy my doing so, I am consciously choosing to identify with the original population.
This week we will start reforming the water system in a partnership between myself, the mayor of our district, and the local people. Then we will move on to security matters as well as tourism as we re-legalize the Quilombola organization.
If we have time I would eventually be able to manage everything we need to do, but am afraid time is running short as the world economy heads down into a recession that could easily take down the financial system, which is burdened with 250 trillion in debt. Sooner or later that will happen.
My strong involvement makes me feel that anything is possible but everything is difficult and getting more so for the majority of people. We face many of the problems the world faces in terms of social relationships and conflicts between the locals and foreigners that come from outside of Brazil, and even with other Brazilians who were not born here.
So am inviting my readers to visit, to entertain the possibility of doing love and relationship work with us; and am also looking for some benefactors who could financially contribute to the creation of a model community that knows how to transform its conflicts creatively.