Every morning at our house, begins with prayer, coffee and reading aloud, to each other, a passage from one book or another. Encompassing a broad spectrum of works and subjects related to ‘Body, Soul (Logic/Emotions) or Spirit (Core Belief System)’. For the last two years, one of the books we study is Experiments in a Search for God (Lessons 1-24) by Mark Thurston, PhD.
Michael and I are consistently aware that our day to day reading usually reflects what is happening in our lives, personally and missions we undertake. We don’t believe it’s coincidental. Almost eerily on target, most of the time, we appreciate and embrace the process.
Mostly recently, in the ‘Experiments’, Chapter 22 is about ‘Knowledge’, and within its pages (279-283), a particularly specifically relays a message that holistically relates to our belief in our Mission at Warrior Way Wellness Center. So much of the following is with due respect and acknowledgement, paraphrasing and applying Dr. Thurston’s knowledge to our ‘vision’.
Dr. Thurston: “There is a simple way in which we can help others with their burdens and their worldly cares. It is simply a willingness to listen to them. Listening is loving. Haven’t we all discovered what a powerful expression of love it is to have someone be willing to listen to our own problems?”
“To be a good listener to others we must first of all genuinely care about people. Listening is not merely the physical act of sitting there and not saying anything while another person speaks to you. Other people can tell when you are truly interested and concerned versus those times when you are impatient or preoccupied and appear to be listening but only out of politeness. There are subtle clues that tip off the other person: eye movements, body language, or maybe even the kind of psychic intuitive communication which happens nonverbally between people.
“If we really care about people, then listening comes easily. This is why the first experiment of this message is crucial; practicing a discipline of spending more time thinking lovingly of others. Of course, even if we develop positive habit patterns of really caring about other people, we cannot fully take on the problems of others. That is, we cannot assume the responsibility for whatever difficulty people face. Their own souls are faced with a challenge that no one else can properly step in and take over for them. But help is possible and having someone genuinely listen can be a great help.”
“Haven’t we all had the experience? Something really troubling us, and we find a friend who will listen and suddenly we feel much better. The problem is not solved. The friend did not say, “Oh, I’ll take care of that for you.” (Because most likely, the friend really can’t fix it for you, if it is Soul or Spirit founded)
“In fact, the friend may not have any idea what you should do next. All they can do is to care about you and listen. So how did it work? Why was the listening so potent?”
First, it may have been an affirmation by another, “I care about you.”
For many of our problems we feel threatened that people will not care about us or think as highly of us because of this situation we now face. Having someone say (even indirectly), “I love you even though you have this difficulty,” may ease a large part of the anxiety and pain associated with that difficulty.”
“Second, having to explain and talk out a problem may help us to organize our thoughts about the whole matter. Having to communicate feelings and events may help us to objectify and understand them better.”
“And finally, there is a third, and perhaps most important reason why someone listening to our difficulty may help us feel better. It reminds us that the solutions will not come from a closed system. That is, we need help from beyond our conscious rational (or irrational) selves. If we close ourselves off, then we are stuck in just the box which created the problem in the first place! Ultimately, the real solution may come by opening ourselves to inner direction from the higher self (or power), or from God.”
“But, an open system is regained”. We may be rehearsing this as we honestly share our concern with another person and observe how they care about us. For a few minutes, at least, we have practices the process which can exist between us and God: trust, vulnerability and openness to receive.”
“Seeing more clearly now how we have been helped by others listening to us, let us turn matters around. We can go out in our world and ease the burdens of others by taking the time to really listen to their concerns.”
Peers listen and meet you where you are, as companions on your journey.