© Pamir Kiciman 2010

Healers hold for individuals, and by accumulation for everyone, the shared story of the human journey. With each encounter, what it is to be human emerges more and more, until there’s a fuller view. With each encounter, the common sufferings and dilemmas of existence are revealed. Our joys are shared too. Some of these themes are universal and some contemporary to the current age. In the previous post on listening I wrote, “In true listening there’s an unmistakable recognition.” This is a witness state.

Being a witness in this sense is the quality of being in stillness and silence inwardly. No demands are being made. The demand that the story you’re receiving be short or long, orderly or chaotic, enlightened or mundane. The demand that you have the right answers, have be brilliant, or mold the person to an agenda. Witnessing is clear-seeing. It’s neutral, non-grasping and open-ended.

When you listen as a witness, both parties are held in a greater field of knowing and compassion. As a true listener, the healer already holds what’s shared in the understanding that it’s a holy encounter. As the sense of this deepens with practice, a larger field also appears because it’s already there, and because the healer is awake to it.

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him. — Simone Weil

Accessing this greater field aids both parties. Some stories are truly horrific. The compassion and knowing which is present is universal, a real strength beyond the abilities of the human heart and mind. If it’s compassion and wisdom listening through you, then bearing witness is much more comfortable and effective.

Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand. — Sue Patton Thoele

Healing begins in a very real way, right at point of listening and being listened to. The acknowledgment that true listening creates opens the door to trust which opens the door to healing. With trust, what’s been kept dark and hidden feels safe enough to come out. This can be secrets held hidden knowingly, or subconscious and unconscious material surfacing.

Listening is preparation for healing. It sets up the right environment for healing to happen. When a person feels heard by the heart, it gives them courage and confidence. It softens all the hardened places inside and allows flowering of the spirit.

By listening from the heart, the healer too is enhanced. Perception and intuition opens up, insight becomes reliable, and the person of the healer can step out of the way. In essence, there isn’t a healer. Only healing.

Let’s end now with an excellent view of true listening:

An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will fell less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the duet dance of love is begun again.


— M. Scott Peck

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Listening to Others