Thursday, June 19, 2008


“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, 
to the whole of it,  not part of it.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

I met a fascinating man today who approached me, interested in my work with the bereaved. It's amazing how, when you meet a kindred soul, you can listen and exchange for hours upon hours and never tire of the conversation because it is intentional, meaningful, and consequential. 

We spoke about life and loss, trauma and tribulation, reality and relationships, loving and listening.

Listen. Listen. Listen.  

Repeat the word, twenty times. Softer. Listen, listen, listen.

Listening to the other can have powerfully therapeutic effects. Holding a space for the other through silence.  Being fully present, all senses focused on the other, their moment of disclosure- be it filled with suffering, sorrow, despair, or joy- being that which Pine (1985) calls a prepared explorer into another person's life.  Gadamer says that the important thing is to "be aware of one's own bias so that the text may present itself in all its newness and assert its own truth."

Reik (1954) discussed listening with the "third ear."  This is psychoanalytic listening intent on intuition. It requires that full experience of presence with the other.  He says, " order to comprehend the unconscious of another, we must, at least for a moment, change ourselves into and become that person.  We only comprehend the spirit whom we resemble."  I might call this true, empathic connectedness.  Freud calls it "listening with evenly suspended attention."  The results can be astonishing- acknowledgement and validation of a person and their place in the world. Thank you, David.

What greater gift can you offer to another than intentionality, consequentiality, and meaning?

And I submit this: Offer this gift, also, to yourself. Listen to the thoughts and the emotions and the memories and the pain and the struggles and the fears and the sounds and the beauty of you.  

Do what you must do to become who you must become.


Unknown said...

I am reminded of Thich Nhat Hanh's vow:
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small."
Reading your blog of your first encounter with David, sharing from afar, and being witness to connections unfolding, I am reminded of the power of communion and interconnectedness.
I am reminded of our highest potential, the gift and responsibility of being a conscious and aware human being. Fascinating and beautiful interconnections, when sustained with intact integrity and impeccable honesty, for self, life and others, can only bear the fruit of beauty, truth and grace.
For indeed, "What greater gift can WE offer to another than intentionality, consequentiality, and meaning?"
May it be so. In beauty, truth and grace, Asha

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

Thank you for your comment Asha! I *love* that vow!
I appreciate you visiting and look forward to meeting. David has told me so many wonderful things about his special woman!


The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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