When I look at a topic, it’s no surprise that I get email on that subject.
So when I source a vasana publicly, I often find myself discussing vasanas with other people either via email or Skype. And, aside from all the benefits that result from that, I learn additional things about the ways in which our characters are formed.
These matters could be aired if we could find someone who’d allow us the listening time that we so badly need when we’re trapped in an upset. But very few people in our society have as yet cottoned to the importance and value of committed listening, much to my sadness.
However, if one can find a good listener, then one gets to march back through time and see how and why our characters were put together the way they are. The path we see is not necessarily a straight line. It has its detours and byways, but it’s nevertheless the path that we followed.
It was laid down in the face of trying, disappointing, and/or threatening circumstances, which induced us to reach conclusions about ourselves, others, life, etc. Once having concluded what we did, we then made decisions about how we’d act in the future. This is the point at which the twig is bent and the tree inclined.
Worse, if we went through numerous repeats of the upsetting circumstances, we can reinforce these conclusions and decisions so often that we become what Werner Erhard called “a guy in a diner” – a windbag, a corralized and fossilized type of character, endlessly sitting in a rocking chair, repeating platitudes.
People let us down in threatening circumstances, people failed to deliver on their promises to us, parents refused to play their role, people repeatedly cheated us or cheated on us.
The various strong emotions we felt can show up in the etheric realm as the seeds of medical conditions and disorders. But we, looking from the vantage point of the present, haven’t been able to see why we are where we are or do what we do.
But when the whole history of events and the litany of let-downs and upsets is known, we see the map of the territory. We see how we got from there to here.
Most people, when they face someone in a vasana, get mad, get insulted, act coldly, or say something confronting. Very few ignore the emotion and just get what the upset person is saying.
Fewer still invite the upset person to sit down and talk about it or ask questions and then sit for an hour or even two hours to hear the answers. Even those people who listen for a while can get bored and make remarks designed to close the conversation down. Others lapse into advice.
If they did, they’d allow that person to see the journey they took into further and further complication and disturbance, until, in many cases, it surfaced as diseases and disorders.
In my estimation, the fifty-minute hour seldom works – and if there are any psychiatrists and psychotherapists reading this, perhaps hear me, if you would; I mean no disrespect. It’s too short a time. It’s eaten up by opening shares, arrangements, payment, etc. People need open-ended time if they’re really going to get into the heart of the matter.
And people may take a while to get into the heart of the matter. I’ve listened for hours to people in upsets.
When they’re into the discussion, they usually become committed to the exploration and the last thing they want to hear is “Time’s up! See you next week!” Ouch! That in itself often shows up like a perpetration.
Moreover, many professionals are oriented towards offering solutions, sometimes unwanted, instead of just getting what the patient or client wants to say. In some cases, they may be geared towards figuring out what medications to prescribe and their line of questioning may be oriented towards that rather than being open to what the patient or client wants to say in an agenda-less environment.
If we can just give people the time they need and listen – yes, we may need to make a comment now and then to clarify or to show that we have our ante in the game or even to remind the speaker audibly that someone is there and following them – then people have the one resource they need to really get at what’s troubling them.
They have the opportunity and help to lay everything out on the table and see the connections, the progressive development of the difficulty, whether emotional or physical, and how we ended up where we are. Almost always, they arrive at an “Aha!” that clarifies the matter and sets them free of it. (It may take repeated cuts to do so.)
Listening is not simply aiming your ear in the direction of the speaker and ingesting words which you later dump from your mind, the quicker the better. Listening is recreating in your mental and emotional field the experiences that the speaker is describing, being a second Self, going through what they’re going through, if only partially.
It isn’t taking matters on so deeply that you develop symptoms! But it is tasting the experience, getting the feel of it, and seeing how you’d feel if that happened to you. And seeing where those experiences might lead. It’s more intimate than the listening most people do but not dysfunctional in that we take on the condition.
Our society caters to our needs and pleasures. It produces food, clothing, etc. It offers vacations, thrills, etc.
But it doesn’t seem to cater as much or as well to the really basic requirements we have to be emotionally and spiritually well. Or if it does, it doesn’t allow such an expense to end up being paid for by medicare or tax money. And many people therefore can’t afford what’s available.
I hope that someday professional listeners get paid under medicare or funded as education is. But right now listening is not accepted as a therapy. (And I know some people will respond that “psychotherapy is paid listening.” See above on that.)
Finally, I can think of no exercise that leads to love and unitive consciousness more, better or easier than listening. Being a second Self for another allows us to share their lives and to understand deeply how it is they got where they are. I feel bonded with those I listen to. I get to know them better than their own relatives may. It’s therefore, in my opinion, an honor and a privilege to give someone the gift of listening. I frankly see it is tantamount to a sacrament in service of the Mother.