~ An excerpt from Nanette V. Hucknall’s award-winning book, Learn to Live from Your Heart.
The heart is a wonderful instrument, but like any instrument, it needs to be practiced to achieve its full potential.
One of the most important ways to use the heart is to listen with the heart and hear what the other person is really saying. This means listening not only to the words that are being expressed, but also to the thoughts and feelings that are not being expressed.
When you listen to someone, often you feel the person is leaving something out, something that is important to the conversation. That feeling can come from several sources. The person may not be in touch with their true feelings, or the person has some fears around saying what they truly feel. There could also be a resistance to having the truth revealed, and so they may feel it best to not say certain things.
For example, someone may need to tell you about a situation that could affect you, but the person doesn’t want to reveal too much as the information was told to them in confidence. They simply want to alert you. Or perhaps someone feels something intuitively but doesn’t want to express it in case they are mistaken about the feeling. This protects them from being wrong. Many times a friend wants to help but doesn’t know the right way to offer help. Certain people do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings and so will not come out and say what is bothering them.
So how do you use your heart to help the person be more honest, or simply to help them get more in touch with their true feelings? First, you need to relate to them in a dis-identified manner. If you have strong opinions about something, you are not going to be able to mirror the person to understand their feelings. There can be no attachment to the outcome. You may want to help them, but if you are attached to their accepting your help, you will not be dis-identified and will not know with the heart what they need most.
Begin listening in a dis-identified manner, with no personal emotions, opinions, or needs arising in the conversation.
As you continue to hear their sharing, keep the following in mind:
>> Help them realize that you understand and feel what they are going through by using your body language.
>> Keep silent about your awareness when your heart tells you that it would be interfering.
>> Offer them your sincere trust and confidence so that they can relax into making the comfort of confidentiality.
>> Help someone look within for their own answers without adding your own agenda.
>> Guiding someone to seek help elsewhere through helpful questions.
>> Release your attachment to your opinions or feelings about what you consider to be correct.
>> Try to simply be there as a sounding board for someone who needs only that.
>> Help someone who is feeling overwhelmed to simply look at each thing one at a time.
>> Being aware when someone is afraid to talk and accepting that decision by not trying to force them to do so.
>> Try to stay clear of your own projections.
>> Not trying to solve another’s problems. Instead, help him solve them for themselves.
>> Listen from the heart, instead of the mind.
Look over the above list and mark those items that you honestly feel are going to be difficult for you to follow. Assess this by placing the statement in your heart and asking: Can I do this fully? If you feel the answer is no, ask yourself why, and then try to come to a better understanding of the why.
Ask your higher self to help you with this. Be aware that if a statement is a problem for you, you may have to go deeper to understand why. For example, you may feel you cannot let go of an opinion you have around another person’s problem, mainly because you have known about it for a long time and have formed opinions about what the person should do. Prepare yourself before meeting with this person by imagining your opinions written on a blackboard and then see yourself erasing them. At the same time tell yourself, “I will not bring these into the conversation. I will just listen to how they are feeling, and respond according to what I feel they need to hear from me.”
This approach may be different from what you previously would have said, but going into the conversation with an open heart allows you to pick up more of what the other person is feeling and what they need for support. If your heart is open and you are dis-identified from your own material, you will know exactly what the person needs and can help them according to their needs, not yours.
~ Excerpted from the book, Learn to Live from Your Heart. Copyright ©2016 by Nanette Hucknall. For more exercises, guided meditation, and talks on this topic, try Higher Self Yoga’s free Guided Experience, Learn to Live from Your Heart.