To speak wisely, one must listen humbly.
- Si Yo Tanka
(John Two-Hawks), Lakota
In our fast paced, frenzied world of Instagrams, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, the “listening” we do is usually along the lines of a lightning fast “gotcha...and let me tell you what I think about this”. Snappy repartee, glib retorts, occasional one-up-manship… for sure.
Soul Satisfying? Hmmmmm. Not so much.
It’s often pure and simple gamesmanship. No table board necessary. Just grab your iphone or other techno gadget and “Go”. Who can answer first? Who has the best story? Who gets the most hits?
And, there is a place for all of this fun but the Authentic human connection that Si Yo Tanka is describing is a very different enterprise.
It takes an INVESTMENT of time and energy,
the creation of a safe environment,
and a real desire to hear and understand the emotions that will, hopefully, reveal themselves.
So often in conversation we automatically fill in the blanks. We hear a part of what someone is saying and then, relying on our own world of experience, assume we know the rest. But everyone’s story is unique to them. And it is shaped, forged, shimmered and frosted with an array of EMOTIONS we might never imagine. Emotions that reveal so much about the rock, the wave, or even the precipice each individual is resting on. And anyone who truly wants to tell us their story is most profoundly in need of some deep listening, some compassion...a true heart connection.
When we give this gift of compassionate listening to others, we “speak wisely”.
Our silent acknowledgment itself “speaks wisely” for in taking the time to listen deeply we affirm the individual’s profound significance.
By our actions we say:
I am here for you.
You are important to me.
I want to understand what you are feeling.
And, In so doing, we strengthen and ease the way for him or her to do the difficult work of addressing the issues weighing on his emotions:
Moving through the dissonance of the moment,
Ascertaining and accepting the body’s message,
And holding space for its wisdom to reveal itself.
Listening to another in this way is truly humble. There is no need for the ego to intervene and direct the drama. Only the precious opportunity to express the caring and concern of a fellow earth traveler who believes we all share common challenges and we all hold the strength, power and beauty to find our way through them. That strength, power and beauty in others often show themselves more readily when we make the time to acknowledge their existence.
We are all fellow travelers and sometimes we encounter caverns of darkness. The deep, humble listening of Si Yo Tanka that we give to each other is a gift of grace lighting the way to someone’s peace and transformation.
image from pinterest