The Art of Listening

– Hey!

– Hey, you there!!

– Listen to what I have to say!!

– It is important!!

– Hey!!

– I need to say it!!

– Is it my turn to speak now??Talking

      We don’t go around yelling those lines when we want to say something, but oftentimes while listening to others we are simply preparing the next thing we are going to tell them, to answer to what they’re saying. Or not, sometimes we are just waiting for a silence from the speaker to start-off on something we really wanted to tell someone, regardless of what the other person was talking about. And this is good. Sharing, expressing ourselves, speaking up, those are all vital keys to a healthy presence to ourselves. Yet, that is sometimes that is also missing when we only try to get it out, the presence to what the other is saying. We listen to what they say, already thinking of a reply, and when that happens in arguments, no one changes their mind because no one is open to receiving the opinion of the other. Our words bounce of a wall, sent out to the universe, never finding a landing place. This is also true for our emotions, when we share how we feel to someone that has their attention focused elsewhere. Even if it’s their own thoughts, and they seem to be listening to us, not being heard hurts. We can feel when it happens. Being heard is a need that we have, to acknowledge who we are, to make us feel like we matter.

Thus, one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to others is listening to them. Simply. Truly. Not giving them advice, or consoling them if we feel that’s what they need, simple listening. Presence works magic.

It is not an easy feat though. It requires calm and focus, and an ability to discriminate what happens within ourselves, and feel what matters most in a given moment. We need to be present to ourselves. To listen to ourselves first, to be able to listen to others. The way to achieve this is to observe what happens within us while someone else talks.

What thoughts do I hold? How do I feel physically? What emotional state do I find myself in? What do I want?

They are an excellent place to start when we are trying to figure out what we are deeply trying to tell ourselves. The secret is, our body speaks loudly about ourselves, to ourselves, but are we listening to it?

Also, once we are aware of those points, they are easier to let go, and so true listening can happen.

I have just introduced a variety of ideas which are worthy being looked at separately, so there goes;

The Desire to be Heard: It all start there. All our experiences start first and foremost within our own subjective perception, and through that, we experience the world. We feel emotions, we have thoughts and ideas, we want to sing. All those activities are fun in themselves, yet they feel even more real when we can share them with others. Therefore, we all have an innate desire to be heard.

Listening to ourselves: Since we are the only person who will be with us through our whole lives, a good place to start to become a better listener is to listen to ourselves. There are causes behind the thoughts we hold, behind the feelings we feels. But before even getting there, we need to know what we feel, how our bodies react, what that little voice inside is trying to tell us. So take the time (maybe even now) to close your eyes and tune into your body. To feel what is happening inside. To be present to yourself. Without judgement, just to bring awareness. Accepting ourselves as we are unconditionally is a wonderful liberation we all deserve. Give yourself that gift. The truth is, no one else has to know, so why not give it a shot?

Listening to others: Listening to others is very similar to listening to ourselves. The only difference is that we are tuning into the other person. We press mute on our thoughts, on our ideas, and we only listening to what they say and how they feel. Yes, how they feel is a key in listening fully, since a majority of the information being communicated by someone who is talking to us, is done through their bodies. Thus, it is important to listen to how our own bodies react, since we tend to mirror the feelings of those around us. The words being carried by the wind are the surface of the wave, the feelings that are transmitted bring the depth with them. Only when listening to the feelings, can we fully grasp what the other person wants us to hear.

Feelings: I have been using that term quite a bit, and for clarification, I mean both physical and emotional feelings. When we are able to differentiate between our own feelings, and the ones we mirror from the other, then we can truly listen to them, without unconsciously answering to our own needs first.

Boundaries: We are in control of where we give our attention. Thus, keeping an open mind and taking in what the others say is amazing and wonderful, but we have no obligations to accept everything they say as truth. We are allowed to have our own opinions, to make our own choices, and to believe in our own truths. We have to listen to ourselves first. And while it may be considered rude to leave or redirect a conversation that we find boring, it is perfectly within our powers to do so. We are the only ones in control of our attention, nothing is owed to others. Freely given attention is far more nourishing.

      The topics of communication and listening are immensely vast, and so this remains but a small scratch on the surface. Though it is a most useful starting point in creating exchanges that are more nourishing for all parties, satisfying the deep desires we all have in a simple way. The best way to become better at this is practice, and that you can do by yourself, and anytime you interact with someone, regardless of how intimate or not you are with them.

On this note, I shall leave you to practice.

Have fun ~*~http://rebloggy.com/post/trippy-music-scream-psychedelic-ear-hearing-sound-spiritual-vocal-visionary-art/113584310014Express

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Hugs are the best…

Hello 🙂

Hugs are the best. Plain and simple. That’s not only because they’re truly amazing, that they feel nice, and that they’re comforting, but simply because they allow us to be truly ourselves with another person. And I’m not talking about greeting hugs that last only a few seconds, but long held tight hugs, the ones that last up to a few minutes, where all that is done by the two huggers is squeezing and back rubbing.

Indeed, this marvellous experience allows us to drop all the masks one can imagine, because there’s nothing else, no words, no looks, only the feeling, so it is hard to pretend to be someone else while hugging another person. Furthermore, longer hugs release Oxytocin in one’s brain (1), which is one of the chemicals associated with social bonding and deeper connections, which is why one of the nicknames for oxytocin is the cuddle hormone, amongst others, since it also has a variety of other effects.

The benefits from hugging do not only come when being done with a person close to us, but can also be activated with a total stranger, since it does not matter who the other person is, energy will still circulate between the two hugging entities. All this to say that “one hug a day, keeps loneliness away”, at least for as long as the oxytocin high lasts. Big hug to all of you!!

Until next time,

Luca

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/health-benefits-of-huggin_n_5008616.html

What is Love…

To you with love, 

Love is the biggest mystery,
It is also said to be the key,
To elevate us, to be free,
And as we bask in it, to be happy

Yet to feel it universally,
Or even very personally,
So that it touches us deeply,
Can be tediously tricky
Emotions come from within,
To express them is no sin,
Though how can we ever be certain,
That we are not hiding behind a curtain
What we truly are is hard to tell,
We have to decipher it, without a spell,
                    There are no guidelines, no recipes,
Towards the path that may bring us peace
We walk alone this twisted road,
Hoping it will lead us abode,
There are no signs, nor shining lights,
So we keep walking, through darkest nights

Progression must be made,
From stagnation be afraid,
For once we stall,
We lose it all
For either up or down,
Wearing sandals or a crown,
We must go forward,
Having something to reach toward
Otherwise we may lay on the ground,
And fall asleep, safe and sound,
Waking up is the hardest thing,
For we’ll have to face the pain within
So keep going, beautiful being,
Soon, the light you will be seeing,
With a giant smile across your face,
You will have finally found your place
You’ll be surrounded by a glow,
And time will be passing, oh so slow,
Every second an eternity,
So you can live it all, so merrily
Until then, stand up strong,
Make your way through the throng,
Help others when you can,
For thus it all began
We truly are connected,
And in your smile will be reflected,
The same emotions we all feel,
Together, making this world ideal

 

Yours truly, 
Luca
 
Credits:
The Path Less Traveled – pinkparis1233 (http://www.deviantart.com/art/The-Path-Less-Traveled-148928554)

 

Deep inside…

Hello 🙂

There is something within us all, that we could never fully escape, no matter how hard we try. It is there from the beginning to the end, an inevitability of our subjectivity. There are many ways to describe it, indeed, as many as there are people in the world, if not even more. Sometimes we forget about it, being able to lose ourselves in the outside world, but it can come back at any time to eat us up from the inside. 

A dark cloud deep inside
It grows, you cannot hide
You want to break through
But it is part of you

It is the loneliness that comes with the fact that we are forever isolated within the world in our heads, left alone with our demons. It is the various pains we have lived through, that accumulated, covering us in darkness, leaving us scarred and scared. Connection is hard to find, hard to maintain, and even harder to deepen to a point where we truly feel connected to someone or something. It is a long path to walk to accept this loneliness, and the dark clouds gather as quickly as mosquitos at dusk. The more there are, the harder it gets to reach what lies inside, what rests in the middle of this darkness. As they increase, so does our pain, our feeling of disconnection, that no one understands us, that we really are all alone…sorry to break it to you, but actually:

You are not alone!!

In fact, everyone has that…EVERY.PERSON you’ll ever meet had to face this at some point or another, some dealing with it better than others, but it still remains as widespread as our need for air. Which is why one of the best ways to really know another person is to have lived the same pain they have. Connection through pain is the strongest, right after connection through love. Which is why we see people come together after horrible cataclysms, whether natural or artificial. Pain is strong, and it is forever a part of us.
BUT IT IS NOT ALL THERE IS!!!

Deep within the cloud of darkness, there is a core of light. There is the true you, the one hidden under all the darkness, under all the pain. It is hard to let yourself shine, for we are afraid that it would only hurt more, that the darkness will keep accumulating. The only way to overcome the layers of darkness and of pain is to reconnect with ourselves, the shining self that we keep inside, because it is just as much a part of us, and is always with us. Once we create this connection, and keep it strong, it is all we ever need, for we will always have it. Perhaps letting it shine is what has always been meant by enlightenment. This golden core can break through the dark clouds, like the the rays of the moon at night, piercing the sky and illuminating our path. This golden core is you. Hold on to it, and the darkness will eventually dissipate. Stay strong, and shine on!!
Blow the dark away
So that you can stay
Near the light within
And let the beauty in
Until next time, 
Luca

Classified…

Hello 🙂

Very often we use a certain mechanism to understand the world around us better, whether its other people, objects, animals, or even ourselves. Yet this way of doing it also has some negative connotations to it, because there are people who are arduously fighting against the idea of being put in a mould. Indeed, what I am referring to is classification, i.e. identifying a phenomenon or a person according to larger concepts than just that person. We do this kind of rearranging all the time, in order to perhaps increase our comprehension of life and everything. But does categorizing really help deepen our understanding of anything??

There are a few problems which come with classifying things according to our previous knowledge, one of which is that we might well judge without knowing. Like the saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover”, we can never really know what something is, or who someone is only by face-value, and that because it is really easy to present oneself as someone completely different than who we really are. Actors do it for a living, but we still all do it to a certain extent in our everyday lives. Also, the categories into which we might want to fit the different people might be erroneous themselves, since they usually come from a lack of knowledge, and a quick judgement, so that we are not taken aback by something unknown. Perhaps this serves as a defence mechanism to block ourselves off from something we perceive as dangerous?? If so, then maybe it is time to open ourselves up and be ready to explore the lives of others!!

People are not the only things we classify though, because we very frequently do it with our emotions as well, so that we have more of a clear idea about how we really feel. Yet, the problem with that, is that it is extremely hard at times to properly define something, especially a feeling, by relying only on our words. As useful as they might be, using words to describe a certain vibe or feeling might become tremendously tricky, for some things cannot simply be described. Love, for example, is a very intricate one, for what does love consist off actually?? Love might be a variable feeling, for the emotion itself changes depending on the object of love, since there are countless possibilities for loving and being loved, and it could be argued that each one of them is completely different and unique, just like the individuals doing the loving itself.

Those two uses of classification show that it is something quite fragile to rely on, for we cannot know if we’re actually right, or if we managed to explain it in its entirety. So if this system is so uncertain, why do we use it so much?? Maybe it is in order to cast our judgements upon others, organizing our lives in a such a way as to make it more comfortable for ourselves by casting away the fear of the unknown, using moulds as shields to guard us. Putting anything into neat little boxes gives us the illusion that we are in control and that we understand, despite the opposite actually being true. So perhaps it is time to drop our classes, get rid of our judgements, and embrace the things we cannot fully explain, or the individuals which are completely different from ourselves. This could lead us to new incredible discoveries.

Until next time,

Luca