To truly listen is a gift for all – therapeutic listening with Luke Bache
To be heard is one of the most healing acts there is. Nothing to be fixed. No judgement passed, or advice given. Just being felt and held. Just being seen so the true answer can dance out from within.
Listening with your whole body can be a very curative act. It is something that may feel quite unnatural to us when we start to practice as it is usually radical to what we have been practicing previously in our lives.
These I believe are three common ways of ‘listening’:
- ‘listening’ whilst looking/scrolling/swiping at a phone
- ‘listening’ whilst thinking about a ‘brilliant’ response. (Usually resulting in the ‘listener’s’ awareness going into their frontal lobe and they get a certain glazed look in their eyes!)
- ‘listening’ and then immediately responding with a fixing comment.
Number 1 is far too common and as speakers we all know how this one feels. Terrible! As is number 2, which I believe means we are never really hearing each other fully as we are caught up in our own response! Number 3 is more subtle and can often be heard as a complaint in relationships: “He is always replying with ways to fix me.”
Solutions can be beneficial, but they can often leave the listener with a feeling of not being heard.
Therapeutic listening: the practice
If you are the listener, take your whole awareness to just below your belly button.
Drop your breath here and keep breathing from this place. In many wisdom traditions this is a sacred place of being embodied, present and the source of intuition. Western medicine seems to be backing this up too, showing this area in the belly to have around 100 million neurons. This is the site of implicit memory, a feeling memory, that unlike the explicit memory in the head, gets more and more intelligent with age. We want to go out of the ‘thinking’ mind in the head and move to the ‘belly brain.’
Therapeutic listening is therefore a radical act of hearing someone fully. It is a way of listening, where the listener doesn’t interrupt, doesn’t think about a response and sits being open, grounded in the belly. There is no need to be a fixer. See if you can sit empathically and listen with your whole body. Keep relaxing with the outbreath so that your nervous system can stay calm and keep softening into your lower belly.
Whenever a thought comes up in the head, see if you can smile to it, let it pass and stay in the belly.
After doing this practice more and more you might start to see how your relationships naturally deepen and how the answer is usually within the speaker and this way of listening helps it naturally bubble up to the surface. Try it for 30 days and observe the results!
For information on Luke Bache and retreat details visit urtruenature.com
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.