Listening and Loving
It is the time of the year when life begins to feel full in a way that I don’t often plan for. I have been waking up with a mind full of tasks and reminders, and have found myself moving from one thing to the next without pausing. The season of joy can sometimes feel like the season of overwhelm for me.
This morning I woke up knowing my meditation practice was calling me and I was craving it. I needed to slow down, and to let the reminders and the tasks to fall to the side for a time. About forty-five minutes later I emerged from my practice to find Herb in the kitchen. I told him how I had been feeling. He listened. He didn’t give me advice. He didn’t try to alleviate. Instead, he just listened and gave me a hug. He reminded me how much he loves me and how he has my back, as I literally felt his hand resting on the back of my heart.
If I was looking for a way to disrupt the overwhelm, I received exactly what I needed. Listening and Love. In fact, these are synonymous in my experience. To be seen and heard is powerful, and perhaps one of the most loving gestures one human being can offer to another. In an increasingly technology driven and speedy lifestyle, more of this human to human connecting and listening is necessary.
This morning the tasks and reminders did fall away for a time while gratitude took their place. I am thankful for a partner who can be at my side in a loving and grounded way. I am thankful that my twelve year old chose to quietly snuggle with me in bed before we went to sleep last night. I am thankful for my ten year old who shows me love in ways that I would never have expected. And I am thankful for my beautiful niece, whose laughter and smile can light up my heart in the flash of a moment. While the world can feel crazy and life can feel more than full at times, today I am grateful for the deep well of love that I am surrounded by.
Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart. Even if he says things that are full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you are still capable of continuing to listen with compassion. Because you know that listening like that, you give that person a chance to suffer less. If you want to help him to correct his perception, you wait for another time. For now, you don’t interrupt. You don’t argue. If you do, he loses his chance. You just listen with compassion and help him to suffer less. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing.
Thich Nhat Hahn