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Why The World Needs Healers

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Photo Credit: Pexels

Gogo Thule NganeGuest Writer

When it comes to spirituality I now see that some have come to the conclusion that there is no true need for the concept of gurus or that the journey within is greater when done yourself. I agree that a large and potent part of our Earth journey is one that only we, as an individual can take; that discovering your God-given power and connection is a blessing only you can truly uncover. Though I believe that the ‘guru’ is within, in a sense, I also deeply believe that the guru is everywhere, that teachers and guides are a beautiful part of our journey but most importantly we are one and we need one another.

But since I feel that a major underlying message that is being sent out in spiritual circles is that everything is within and you need nothing else, I’d like to remind you why the world needs healers and spiritual guides, and why coming together has always been much more powerful than standing alone.

Because The Guru is Everywhere

Spirit is limitless and manifests in infinite ways. Not only has God gifted us with our own ability to know the truth from within but that truth and wisdom is reflected back to us all the time everywhere that we go through people, places, books, TV shows, nature, and all things. Sometimes I receive profound messages within my own dreams and meditations and others in hearing the words of my elders or peers and even in the lyrics of a sweet song.

Because spirit can take any shape or form to reach and teach us it is so important to remain open to wisdom in all the ways it greets us in life. I especially say this to those who have been hurt by leaders, teachers, and churches or spiritual communities. Anything and everything can be a vessel. Not all use their vessel for good but we all have the potential to deliver divine information to one another. Be mindful but remain open to the truth because it is all around you even in those that have come to teach us what not to do and who not to be.

Because there are comforts we’d rather not sacrifice.

As I mentioned we are all vessels and carry gifts and much potential. We are all seers and healers of some sort or art form, yet we do not all want to fast at the level as some prophets do or leave the city to relearn how to be in tune with nature in the mountains like monks. We do not all want to do what it takes to fully come into our abilities as psychics or shamans. I love being a shamanic healer and would never go back to my life before this but I would not wish some of the trials I have transformed through on others. It is not easy. Ego deaths are not pretty nor fun. I’ve given up long periods of time away from friends and family, sex, and many other life pleasures.

I believe this is true of all people in every domain. I wasn’t willing to go to university longer than the average 4 years to be a doctor. There are many paths I do not choose because there are sacrifices I’d rather not make and that is perfectly beautiful because we all have paths that we are meant to take and we all will have to make some sacrifice. Spiritual Healing work is deep and at times risky and requires going into the darkness to retrieve souls and soul medicine. There are intense places and dimensions that a healer must go spiritually and physically in order to heal themselves and others. The healers that have taken honourable paths have given up things you cannot even imagine to do what they do and be who they are in order to offer us divine wisdom and access to immense support on our healing journeys.

Because you can’t do it alone, nor see everything.

Not even healers do all of their work alone. If you look at most indigenous ceremonies and gatherings there are many healers that come together and many more helpers and members to orchestrate these powerful ceremonies. Churches have many pastors and a whole hierarchy of leadership to support the community. I even tend to want to be this superwoman figure. I desire to learn all topics and be a master of many things but it’s overwhelming and I’ve come to live this life and do much more than just study. No one does anything alone. Work is hired out, our friends help us move into our apartments, our counsellors guide us to apply for school or fix our relationships, and writers get their works edited and proofread.

All of my teachers have elders that they turn to and seek spiritual advice from. In the African traditions there are always those above us that we gain insight from and who offer a checks and balances of power and ethics. All the healers and psychics I know have their own healer and psychic. We all need help, we all have blind spots, and can’t see everything. Only the creator has that ability. Oh how I wish I could see it all. Most of my prophetic dreams and messages come through me about other people. I once asked my teacher why can’t I see more into my own life. I need my help! She explained that it was because as a healer I am here to serve. There are times when we are to be of service and times to receive. You are not on your own island and you have called certain people or experiences into your life to help in your evolution. We seem to fall into this idea that we are separate not only from God but from others. Allow yourself to ask and receive what it is that you need.

Because we need spirit and a higher sense of self.

When you go to do with a healer, shaman, or spiritual medium of some sort you are not just working or receiving from this “person”. You are also connecting with the spiritual guides and higher powers that work through them. In my spiritual tradition of the Sangomas of South Africa, the healers are guided and led by ancient ancestral healing spirits. When you make your payments in exchange for your service you are honouring and acknowledging a group of spirits that are blessing you through this work and offering you wisdom and healing. It is because of spirit that healers are able to do what they do and it is because of spirit that we seek healers. We need and crave to connect with a higher power and our higher selves. Our wellbeing and our success is related to how connected we are to our soul, our true self, our free loving creative whole selves. We live in times where our connection is constantly threatened and weakened so making that reconnection and union to the body-mind-spirit is vital.

I know that people look at healers sometimes and think that they can do the same. I have even at times looked at others and thought there must be a way to figure out what they do but this is naive and dangerous. A healer can appear to be doing simple everyday things but invoking energies that bring in power to what they do. Everything isn’t always as it seems.

I came across a beautiful piece of digital art (below) by a local artist that I feel depicts the most important part of this whole discussion about why we need healers; this image by Baba Underdog shows an aspect of what we don’t see. A man pouring water over these young girls but tuning into a power beyond this realm. These powers activate the medicine in the work that healers do. You can’t copy that, you can’t do that yourself, and it can be dangerous to just take something you see and replicate it when you don’t understand the power, the history, nor have the level of protection needed that a trained healer has taken the time to gain. Of course you can connect with your spiritual guides but you can’t connect with theirs and each guide or deity has their specialities and different forms of “medicine” that we can all benefit from. It is a blessing to be around and gain from other healers and power houses. We all have something unique to offer.

I often hear of people having extremely difficult spiritual experiences and awakenings made worse because they didn’t have the guidance or training to handle the trials, growing pains, and spiritual warfare that comes with this work. This work is sacred. This work is deeply freeing and though there is so much you can learn and do alone, there is just as much to receive and gain in working with a guide who loves you and wants you to evolve and find home within your own spirit. My teacher always says, “I’m not here to train mini me’s. I want you to surpass the work that I’ve done.” She supports me in discovering my truth for myself.

Honestly, the world needs healers for the same reason that the world needs you. Because we are all individual answers and blessings to the world’s problems and positive evolution. I imagine a time when we are all fully awake to our gifts whatever they may be and honour with gratitude all our guides, teachers, messengers, and helpers along the healing journey.

Namaste.

Recommended Articles by Gogo Thule Ngane
About the Author

Gogo Thule Ngane is a Sangoma Traditional Healer, Priestess, and Medicine Woman. She is guided by the Amadlozi, Elevated Ancestors of her lineage. Her work includes divination, traditional healing, and leads workshops, ceremonies, and retreats on ancient African healing and spirituality. She is devoted to awakening ancestral wisdom on the earth.

Journey with her at: 

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Consciousness

We Need To Feel To Heal

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We Need To Feel To Heal
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

Lissa Rankin, MD, Guest Writer

As I’m trapped in my house because the air quality where I live in the Bay Area is incompatible with life, as I’m sheltered in place for six months and gave up all summer travel because I want to be a responsible community member and don’t want to hurt anyone who might be at risk of COVID, I am wrestling with how we live in a world where our president doesn’t believe in climate disasters and some doctors with public influence are denying the danger of COVID. I can only make sense of all this by viewing disaster denialism as a trauma response that deserves our compassion.

Unrelenting natural disasters like the current West Coast wildfires and smoke outs are terrifying. Those of you who don’t live here might not understand how terrifying it feels to not be able to breathe in your front yard. This morning, I got online to see if there’s some place I can escape to, someplace my family and I can breathe. The closest place I can find with a good AQI is Sedona. That’s terrifying. 10% of the population of Oregon has evacuated according to the New York Times this morning because the AQI is 400-500+ in most of the state. Yet only the privileged can evacuate. What about all the people who can’t afford to leave their jobs or their homes and go stay in a hotel somewhere? What about the people who are high risk for COVID and are scared to leave home, even if home means you can’t breathe? What about the animals?

It’s no wonder people would respond to this very real terror by escaping into a utopian narrative that a great awakening is happening and we’re all waking up. I would prefer to believe that a new age is dawning and things are getting better and better too. But that’s not the reality of what’s happening. What’s really happening is that we may be in the midst of a mass species extinction of our own making, and the West Coast of the US may soon be uninhabitable—because of our own denialism and inability to respond to a series of intersecting disasters, most notably climate crisis.

If we are “woke,” we should be engaging in the very practical action steps put forth in the hopeful book, The Future We Choose, by Paris Climate Agreement negotiator Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac. If we are woke, we should be rallying together to make a cooperative effort to get this pandemic under control, even if it means sacrificing in the short term some of the personal freedoms we’ve come to feel entitled to. If we are woke, we need radical policy change in almost all of our systems—health care, education, politics, economics, the justice system—which have spiralled into apocalyptic levels of corruption and are causing moral injury for those who still work within these systems they feel helpless to change.

I get that it’s hard to feel the feels that come with back to back disasters. It’s hard for me too. But we need to increase our resilience and tolerance for feeling fear, bewilderment, shame, guilt, helplessness, powerlessness, worthlessness, disorientation, and other painful emotions so we can be “response-able”—able to respond, as Thomas Hubl defines it—in this apocalyptic time. The only way we can do that is by treating our traumas with therapies that actually work. (I’m a fan of Internal Family Systems-IFS—personally.)

Yesterday, when I was expressing my genuine pain of what’s happening here in the West Coast, someone on my Facebook thread shamed me for being “low vibe” and “creating my reality” with my negative thinking. I was so startled by the stark, even cruel lack of empathy in his response. Is he saying my valid fear in the face of a life-threatening disaster is causing the entire West Coast to be un-breathable and if only I pretend it’s not terrifying and think fake happy thoughts, the air will clear around me? It was such a delusional level of spiritual bypassing that I realized that spiritual bypassing is a very valid and understandable trauma response and that he deserves my compassion, even as I set boundaries that protect me from what I consider abusive behavior. Telling someone in the midst of an acutely traumatic situation that they have created their painful reality with their negative thoughts is abusive and should not be tolerated. But if we come to understand it as a trauma response, maybe we can have more sensitivity to those who are responding to real disasters in this

Using IFS language, most of us have parts that felt helpless, powerless, ashamed, terrified, worthless, and not good enough when we were little. Disasters can activate those feelings again, so it makes sense that some people would cope with those hard to feel feelings by covering them up with spiritual bypassing parts. Sure, I’d rather believe that benevolent aliens have penetrated humans on earth as a way to save us from ourselves than believe that humans are actually destroying ourselves and unwilling to do what it takes to save ourselves. But dear ones, if we want to actually wake up, we must stop believing we’re woke and feel the pain that comes with humility, facing our personal and collective shadows, wrestling with painful emotions, and taking firm action to make amends and reverse course. Nobody is coming to save us from the disasters we’ve created with our own greed, denialism, plundering of nature, entitlement, dehumanizing behavior of people of color, land theft of the indigenous people, genocides, and other atrocities us and our ancestors have willingly participated in. I’m sorry if it’s hard to hear that or feel what that evokes. I’m sorry if you misunderstand my willingness to face the stark reality of concurrent disasters as being “unenlightened.” I’m terribly sorry if you’ve been duped into believing it’s more enlightened to deny reality than to feel the pain of it.

This is why I think it’s so crucial we all come together to address collective trauma. I participated in Thomas Hubl’s Collective Trauma Summit and will be listening to all the other speakers when it starts soon. If any of you are interested in joining in as part of collective healing without spiritual bypassing, I would love to have you all among that community with me here.

As for this post, please, let us keep this a non-polarizing space to experience reality—and all its emotions—together, as safely as possible, without insulting each other or shaming anyone, even those who engage in spiritual bypassing because they don’t know how else to handle hard times. What do you need to express today? How are you feeling?

Originally published at lissarankin.com and reproduced here with permission.

The views in this article may not reflect editorial policy of Collective Spark.

Recommended Articles by Lissa Rankin
About the Author

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician on a grass roots mission to heal healthcare, while empowering you to heal yourself. She is the founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and  healthcare providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of the books Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself (2013), The Fear Cure (2014), and The Anatomy of a Calling (2015).

Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and created the online community HealHealthCareNow.com. She is also the author of several other books, a speaker, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Connect with Lissa on Facebook and Twitter, or visit LissaRankin.com.

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Consciousness

6 Quick And Easy Intuition Exercises To Help You Focus On Your Own Truth

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6 Quick And Easy Intuition Exercises To Help You Focus On Your Own Truth
Photo Credit: https://markmanson.net/

Nikki HarperGuest Writer

We are currently living in a period of great stress and, for many people, tremendous fear. We’re also living in an information age – or perhaps that should be more accurately characterised as a mis-information age. Misinformation is everywhere, from well-meant but untrue social media memes to obfuscation, confusion and downright lies from governments and authority figures.

Lewis Carroll’s White Queen may have prided herself on her ability to believe six impossible things before breakfast, but these days we find ourselves often asked to believe – and act in accordance with – multiple conflicting and rapidly changing statements and instructions on a daily basis. Add in the undercurrent of fear and mistrust, and it’s very easy to lose sight of your own intuitive truth amid all the misinformation.

Next time you find yourself wondering what – or who – to believe, whether on a personal matter or a global crisis, try one of these quick and simple exercises to put you back in touch with your own higher knowledge and intuitive truth.

Three of these exercises work with direct intuition – using nothing but your own higher consciousness to receive direct answers. The other three work with indirect intuition, or symbolic intuition, using a tool of some kind to help you discover and interpret an answer. Some of these exercises require you to have a question in mind before you start; with others you do not ask a question, you simply remain open to whatever you soul most needs to know in that moment. Some of these ideas will work better for you than others, so just experiment with whatever feels right to you.

Ask a Book – Any Book

Bibliomancy is the art of divination via random passages from random books. Here, however, we’re not looking to divine the future, but to strengthen your intuition. Form a question in your mind – anything you need to know an answer to, from the deeply profound to the entirely trivial, it doesn’t matter. Then, wherever you are, pick a random nearby book and open it to a random page. Close your eyes and run your finger up and down the page until you feel you should stop.

Pay close attention to the sentence you have stopped on. What does it tell you about the question you asked? Depending on the book you chose, it may well have no obvious connection whatsoever – most likely you will need to read between the lines, looking for the symbolic meaning behind the written words. If you can’t work with the individual sentence, expand it and use the paragraph instead. There are answers if you look hard enough for them.

Go on a Meditative Journey

This method works with your direct intuition. Sit calmly and quietly and ease yourself into a light meditative state. Then take yourself on a journey, to a place of your choice – you might want to visit a cave, a forest glade, a beach, a city park, a mountain top or wherever else appeals to you in the moment. Take your time on this journey, noticing as much detail as you can. When you arrive at your destination, look for a box, a chest, a bag or a container of some kind which will be waiting for you. Open it and take out a piece of paper from within it. What is written on the paper? This is a message directly from your higher consciousness; read it, absorb it and learn from it.

Doodle Your Answer

Sit quietly and calm your mind. Have a question in mind. Write it down four times, one underneath the other, on a piece of paper. Each time you write it down, ask your higher self for guidance. When you’ve written it the last time, immediately clear your mind and start to doodle on the page for sixty seconds. Don’t consciously try to draw anything or answer your question. Just doodle.

When you’ve finished, look at what you’ve done. How can you interpret these lines and symbols with regard to your question? What answers do they hold for you?

Choose a Card or Image

If you have a deck of tarot cards or oracle cards, this is easy to do. If you don’t have one, you can use random photos or images cut from magazines, although obviously that’s not a spontaneous thing and will need considerable preparation. Anyway, once you have your source of cards or images, shuffle them or mix them up in any way which appeals to you, face down.

Select a card or an image, while holding a question in your mind. The process of selecting one is up to you; you could just pick one at random, or you could choose a specific number and count deal out that many cards, choosing the 8th or the 17th or whatever number matters to you. Alternatively, sort the face down cards or images into two alternate piles; discard one and sort the remaining ones into another two piles; discard one and continue doing this until you have only two cards left – discard one, and the remaining one is your image.

Look at the image or card. If you read tarot or are familiar with the oracle deck, try to put the normal interpretations out of your mind. Look only at the image itself and try to interpret what that has to say in relation to your question.

Listen to Your Stream of Consciousness

This is another way of accessing your direct intuition. Clear your mind and set a timer for five minutes. Then start to write on a blank page. It doesn’t matter what you write; write the first words which come to your head even if those are ‘I don’t know what to write’ and continue from there. It doesn’t matter if you repeat yourself. Don’t censor what you’re writing or even think about it consciously, just write out the thoughts which occur in your mind. At the end of your five minutes, stop. Read what you’ve written and assess how it could possibly relate to what you might need to know right now.

Hide the Answers

Have a question in mind which has no more than three potential answers – for example, something regarding what you should do about a career issue. On three small pieces of paper, write the three answers (for example: bide my time in this job, re-train as X, look for a new job in my current field). Put each piece of paper inside an envelope and seal the envelope. Sometime later that day, pick up the envelopes and shuffle them around. Spend five minutes sitting with them, handling each one but allowing your conscious thoughts to drift wherever they will. At the end of five minutes, choose the envelope you feel most drawn to and reveal the answer.

All of these exercises will help to strengthen your intuition, but the thing which strengthens intuition most of all is when we use it. There’s no point gaining answers or information if you’re then going to ignore it. So, try to act upon the answers or information you received – be brave and just do it. The more you use your intuition in a practical, everyday sense, to guide your decisions, the stronger it will become.

Recommended Article by Nikki Harper
About the Author

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.

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Consciousness

Covid-19: An Opportunity For Self-Realisation

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Covid-19: An Opportunity For Self-Realisation
Photo Credit: Pexels

Buddha Maitreya, Guest Writer

Nature has sent us a warning. We have to change our life and our world and now. Our life has ground to a halt by Covid-19, it has been cruel and a tragedy for so many, but for mankind as a whole it could be the moment of learning, to start a new life and build a new world.

The human race has led a material-orientated way of life ever since the start of civilization over twelve thousand years ago and has achieved a highly developed society. Huge amounts of wealth have been accumulated through industry and commerce, but at the same time it has brought with it a crippling defect, a massive imbalance. There is inequality, poverty, social unrest, devastation of the ecosystem and environmental destruction of the planet.

What is happening now is that nature has forced us to stop our present way of life so that the planet can be protected, life on earth can survive and she has presented us a chance to change our life in order to discover a more whole and harmonious way of living.

In practice nature is teaching us to change ourselves from a material orientated ego-centred self to a spiritual, altruistic self to encourage us to fulfil the purpose of life – ‘Know Thyself’ or self-realisation.

Most people are not aware that the ego-self is not our real self, but a false self, a product of the mind, mental concept, and not the true reality of human beings. What is not reality is illusion, our ego-self is illusion. Our true self is the pure reality of our BEING that is life manifested in the human body which is a miracle and wonder of creation – divine.

Up until now human beings have lived on earth with the illusory ego-self and created a materialistic world of endless troubles and suffering. Ego is illusion, false self-identity, illusion is ignorance and this is the true cause of suffering.

Now nature has shut down the whole world providing us time to reflect and an opportunity to transform ourselves.

Our true self is unity with the universe as being LIFE (Oneness) itself. Thus we have all the good of the universe, energy of the universe, glory of the universe, intelligence of the universe and generosity of the universe. We are endowed with the wholeness – universal mind, universal wisdom and universal love. As our True self we can lead a life in ONENESS, a harmonious life of wholeness, balanced, holistic, eco-friendly, a sustainable way of life, an ethically caring, loving spiritual life.

We are not here on this planet to live and die in the world of illusion and suffering, conflict and war but to live in the world of The Truth, the Pure Reality, the glory of LIFE, with wonder and beauty, in the splendour of the universe.

Human beings have lingered in a life of materialism for so long, but now is the time to break it and step forward into a new life in the world of ONENESS and wholeness of LIFE to build a new world.

The Way of Self-Realisation: “Buddhayhana” – The Simple But Direct Way of the Truth

The way to find the truth, or one’s true self, is not achieved by an intellectual approach or philosophical understanding, because the Truth does not exist in an abstract mental field, but is the solid reality that is pure Life itself.

Hence the only way to know the Truth, or to realise one’s true self is “Be”. To be the reality with one’s whole being, that “I am”. To Be is to be Life, the pure reality, the Truth. As we “sit and be”, we are the Truth, we are our true self, which is self-realisation.

The Truth can be called Buddha, hence the meditation “sit and be” is Buddhayhana. Anyone can be Buddha in it, and everyone should be, as it is the purpose of life.

Originally published at Pure Land, and reproduced here with permission.

About the Author

Maitreya (Koji Takeuchi) was born and brought up in Handa, Japan, near Nagoya. During the difficult teens he began a desperate search for truth, turning to meditation with the hope of personal contact with the truth. And so it was that he found himself on a week’s meditation course for lay people at a monastery one summer where he had the experience ‘Enlightenment’ through his total sacrifice and dedication that was to firmly lay down the foundations for his life as a meditation teacher.

In the moment of ‘Enlightenment’, he saw the absolute perfection and beauty intrinsic in all things and all beings, the essence of Life. The clarity and joy of that experience and its profundity gave rise to the strong wish to share this with everyone by helping them to experience it too by means of simple meditation. Maitreya, for the purpose of becoming a meditation master, went on to university to complete an MA degree in Buddhist Theology and lived the life of a Zen monk for a time. But he felt the monastic life was too harsh, rigid and out of date.

Maitreya left Japan to spend a year in Thailand, then went traveling in India and Nepal where he began teaching meditation for a few years. Through the invitation of a friend he came to England. He stayed in various centres and universities around the country, Reading University, Cambridge University and Lancaster University, etc., teaching and lecturing.

It was whilst staying in Teversal in Nottingham he came across a property for sale in North Clifton which became a base from which to teach meditation. Pure Land was born in 1973.

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Consciousness

Tips For Effective Listening

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Tips For Effective Listening
Photo Credit: Getty

Fiona ReillyGuest Writer

The gift of being heard is something really precious. Having someone listen attentively to our expression or story is very healing and can enable us find our own understanding, acceptance, balance and joy again. Listening sounds like a very simple thing and indeed it is, yet many of us struggle to listen effectively. Being a good listener requires being present and fully attentive to the other. It is not about offering advice or fixing anything or making the other feel better, it’s simply being there and paying attention.

“Whatever life we have experienced, if we can tell our story to someone who listens, we find it easier to deal with our circumstances.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

Four Tips for Effective Listening

So how might we listen more effectively… there are many things that can help! Below I outline four suggestions that I have found to be fundamental to good listening.

Be Present

Initially, it is vital to be present and with the speaker, to give them our full attention. If possible find a quiet place for a listening exchange where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Turn off phones and any background noise. Honour your boundaries, if you feel you only have 20 minutes to listen, say so at the beginning so the boundaries are clear or explain that now is a not a good time and arrange to connect when the time is right. To the best of your ability come from a place of acceptance and compassion and avoid judgement of them or their story. Be fully attentive to them and the energy between you.

“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

Simply Listen

Many of us want to try to fix and make things better for the other person, yet the most beneficial way is for them to work through whatever is arising and to find their own solutions. The way to help someone feel better is to encourage them to be with their pain or confusion or whatever their experience is, to explore it and then they may feel empowered to move through it. Telling someone they need to be strong or things will get better or something similar isn’t effective long-term and can be disempowering. So try not to fix the situation or offer solutions unless they are invited. When listening our purpose isn’t to make a person feel better, simply by having their experiences heard in a non-judgemental and accepting way can allow things to shift and heal.

“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed—to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.” – Paul Parker

Focus On the Speaker’s Perspective

While it’s useful to be able to identify with their experience, telling someone of your similar experience is not usually helpful, so try not to habitually compare their situation to one that you have experienced. It is of course fine if you are having a two way conversation, however if you want to encourage a person to explore their experience, your story isn’t what they need to hear, at least not until they have worked through their own stuff. It can take from what the speaker is saying and turns the attention away from them. Occasionally it may be appropriate to share your own experience, use your intuition on when that feels right. You could check with the speaker if they’d like you to share what happened to you, though mostly I find it best to stay with what the speaker is sharing.

In order to acknowledge their experience and what they have shared, you can reflect back to them what you heard them say, for example “You felt very angry when that happened”. Such a reflection does a number of things, it shows that you are listening, that their feelings or expressions are valid and enables them to go into more depth around the issues. In focussing on the other person you may notice the subtleties of body language, tone of voice… etc which can sometimes indicate more than their words and again if appropriate you can reflect back what you notice.

Don’t engage in a drama or exaggerate the situation, sometimes what is being shared may arise feelings in you, acknowledge these internally though put them aside you can always return to explore them yourself at a more appropriate time.

Become Comfortable With Silences

For many silences or gaps in conversation cause discomfort and they rush to fill the quietness with something. However allowing a silence lets the speaker know that you are there for them and ready to listen when they are ready to speak. Speaking in order to break a silence usually ends up in directing the speaker in a different direction, than what may have otherwise arose next. If you do feel to ask questions, do so for clarity and understanding. The facts or details usually don’t matter. If you do feel to ask questions try to keep them open ended, you could you phrases like “How was that for you?” to encourage more disclosure or as I mentioned earlier reflect back what you have just heard.

Acknowledging Pain

This is an excellent video relating to how to support a grieving friend and the principles offered could be used with other challenging situations, not only grief. The way to help someone feel better is to encourage them to be with their pain, to explore and accept it and then they may feel empowered to move through it.

Here’s one more quote and a sweet cartoon by lunar baboon that illustrates what the value of letting go of the need to do anything and simply listen.

“One of the easiest human acts is also the most healing. Listening to someone. Simply listening. Not advising or coaching, but silently and fully listening.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

With loving gratitude for all those who have shown me how to listen well and for my continued learning. I wish you well with your listening explorations,

Fiona

Recommended Articles by Fiona Reilly
About the Author

Fiona is an Active Listening therapistreflexologist, and experienced doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. She runs various workshops related to the vibrancy of conscious plant based eating and women’s issues including being childless/free and loves joining women in circle.

Her website is www.fionareilly.co.uk or click here for her facebook page – True Living

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