There is power in the experience of stillness. Especially when combined with the presence of holding space for yourself or another person.
This is generally thought of as “listening.”
When I sink into the experience of truly witnessing what someone is saying, putting my own opinions and judgments aside, being attentive, to just what is being said, it expands the space between us. It’s a very tangible experience.
It takes a tremendous amount of patience and true grounded-ness to be this still.
When someone comes to you and wants to share something very important, for you to say I'm going to sit here for five minutes and I'm just gonna listen, it is a very powerful experience for you both. Maybe even on a cellular level powerful.
It puts you in the position of being a receiver. If you can do this with skill and not be lured into the temptation to fix or judge what is being said, it can be an incredibly enriching experience. Being a receiver feels complete in itself.
When you are the speaker, and you have the experience of being listened to – without the other person trying to change anything for you, it can be a profound experience.
You actually get the chance to listen to yourself more than even if you were to be alone by yourself. The fact that someone is there with you, fully present and aware, but not reacting or giving your feedback.
It can be life-changing to be truly heard.
I feel like if we did this more often it could change the world.
The only comparison of an experience that comes slightly close to this is maybe when you're in meditation.
You set the stage for this deep listening by quieting your body, maybe by focusing on your breath or a mantra or any place to focus your attention.
Pretty soon it becomes apparent that you're literally sitting and as still as you are, the thoughts are arising and showing up. If you’re practiced at you, you can witness your thoughts and not judge them, or try to stop them or get them to go away. You try not to engage with them and it’s sort of like you're doing the same thing.
There’s a method you can use – it’s so simple. You just notice the thoughts and say “Thank you, what else do you have?” and repeat it as many times as you need to, without hesitating to get into the specific things you hear.
You're just saying thank you, what else do you have? Thank you what else do you have? That's like literally what you do in meditation to allow yourself to sink deeper into being present and not distracted by the thoughts as they float by.
When you sit down to practice, you know you're going to have thoughts. You know they will arise, but you just don’t let them make any impressions on you.
I just realized that that's what this deep listening is – it’s like a living present moment meditation with another person.
I started learning about meditation about introspection and quietness and stillness and intuition and all those types of practices from the time I was about 13 years old. It was at that time that I took my first formal education in a workshop called Silva Mind Control. My dad signed us up to take this weekend workshop in New York City after he had taken it. I remember him telling us he thought it might be good for us to use to study and improve our memory retention.
Here I am at 61 and when I practice something called “Spring Cleaning” with someone it really does feel familiar. Just figured out it feels comfortable because I've practiced it and practiced it and practiced it. Alone and now, with others.
Now I understand why I've been practicing and why it feels familiar and why I'm good at it - is because I have been practicing!
I can see that this is really one of the best offerings I can make right now.
Literally, right now my biggest challenge is to ground myself so much that I can offer this space holding and witness to others. So I can be this channel or vessel or whatever it might be called – this safe haven for my husband, my friends and family, and my clients.
But first, for myself.
And you? Who do you know that listens to this deeply to you?
If you want to try it out and see for yourself how impactful the experience can be, set up a date and I’ll hold space for you for 15 minutes on whatever topic you want. You’ll have the chance to truly hear yourself in the presence of a quiet witness.
I think you’ll be amazed at what your inner wisdom has to say to you.
If you’d only take time to listen. I will. With you.
Pamela Miles, Author
The love of writing began during the 1972 - 73 school year, while composing letters to my summer camp friends. From there I learned about the power of keeping a journal, a secret spot to get all my thoughts out on paper... the letter writing and journalling has continued and now I'm venturing into the word of Blogging!