Thank you Amy for sharing this inspiring quote today from Rachel Naomi Remen. “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention …. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” Awesome!
While “active listening” is a skill that many of us have been trained on at work, this quote reminded me of a different kind of listening I learned at Kripalu that is passive yet powerful.
In active listening, we engage the other person in conversation so they feel heard. With our posture, prompts, nods and “uhuhs”, we support and encourage. We learn to reflect back what the other is saying in order to understand. We ask open questions to explore more. Its a great leadership skill that taps into our own intuition as well as empathy.
At Kripalu I experienced “Co-Listening”. It is simple yet profound. Here, there are no words of encouragement or questions, the listener is simply being with the other person in loving silence as the speaker shares what they are aware of. It is a mindful listening practice.
In co-listening one person listens while the other person speaks. They may be touching each other, but not directly looking at each other. Rather than the speaker telling their interpretation of events or their story, we were asked when being the speaker to begin each sentence with “I am aware of….”
During this process the listener practices listening without reply or response and being present with their attention fully on the speaker. The listener practices non-judgmental awareness, witness consciousness, for the speaker and self. There is no processing, interpreting, problem solving, analyzing, helping, or discussing during or after the co-listening process by either partner. The speaker notices what it is like to be listened to from someone listening from witness consciousness. When the designated time is up for the speaker, the partners reverse roles.
Its remarkably simple, yet profound. Being in empathy with an other person in that present moment touched me deeply, as the listener and the speaker.
It opened up a deeper connection with the other person …without any conversation at all. It is a real gift.
Please try it and see how heart opening it can be.