People have always had challenges, pains, and sufferings. The most powerful way to heal that trauma is by coming together with one another and being fully present with each other through listening deeply.
Deep listening is a practice that has been the cornerstone of indigenous healers for centuries, myself included. It is not only practiced when we work with those who have come for healing, but also when we move in nature. This is where it shifts from having a conversation heart to heart with another, to heart to nature, where the trees, plants and deva’s speak with us from that state of open awareness, the depth of deep listening. My best reference; a deep contemplation in a relaxed state. This space of being in nature creates deep peace.
This sacred way of being is taught to us when we are young. This is not the way most Westerners have been trained. Because of this when we start to process our pain we stop it mid-track. We feel unsafe, judged, or not heard, and because of this we shut down, stopping the healing before it’s complete. Since we haven’t been taught how to handle the pain, we stuff it back inside, put it on the back-burner, until one day when we get triggered around the event/emotional experience again and it gets even bigger and worse. Sometimes it can even attach onto other old feelings and patterns that we have not cleared, and makes us miserable, emotional unstable, and withdrawn. When we are under the influence of deep emotional trauma it is hugely disempowering and we often have challenges trusting our own ability to make decisions for ourselves. Holding onto the emotional pain in the end creates separation leaving you feeling alone and often abandoned. Not only do we not listen to one another, we’re not even present in our own lives.
I took a friend out to dinner to one of those fun Japanese restaurants where the Chef does a bunch of culinary tricks on the hot grill in front of them, and you are seated with a large group of people for the experience. There was a lovely group of five college girls sitting next to me and I was absolutely fascinated by their complete lack of being present. They were all together, with their cell phones in hand, texting at the rate of light. They weren’t connected to each other and they were completely unaware of what was happening in front of them. I watched as it threw off the energy of the entire table and saw how it affected the Chef resulting in his feeling less than and disrespected. I saw where they could have had an amazing time laughing together instead. It was an amazing teaching. Once I gleaned what I needed, of course I pulled them all into playing with us and enjoying a meal together. For me though it was such a profound look into where we are not being present for one another.
One of the sweetest ways of indigenous deep listening that I love, is when someone experiences a very deep trauma, the community comes together around that person. First they create a circle placing the person hurting in the center, and then they sit facing them, relaxed in their bodies, being fully present, looking and deeply listening to them with loving acceptance. Then the person in the center turns to each person in the circle, one by one, and tells their story. When they finish telling their story to the first person in the circle, that person nods their head, acknowledges their story, and turns around in the circle, turning their back to them. This acknowledges their pain and by turning their back it helps co-create their healing. By the time they complete going around the circle they are done; they are healed from the traumatic event and they never need to bring it up again because it’s now complete. This is the gift we can offer others by being fully present and offering our deep state of listening.
How does this work? Thanks to our limbic system. When we talk about limbic resonance, mirror neurons, and neuroplasticity, we are actually talking about how our brain, our resonance, responds to our own and others vibration. When we are in a circle of people that are vibrating deep respect, acceptance, and full heart based listening, it is the best possible model for our traumatized limbic system to restructure itself. In other words to fully heal.
Our limbic system is trained through repetition. By repeating the story over and over again, in succession, and over and over again being received with compassionate acceptance, it rapidly restructures the pathways with an amazing way of mirroring that outer compassion into compassion for themselves, allowing them to fully heal. The old adage of “fake it until you make it” on an emotional level is impossible. We can’t fake something we don’t feel. By being with others who are lovingly holding space with us, emanating out the emotion that we are looking to learn how to resonate within ourselves, we literally change our brain so that we are able to vibrate at that resonance and bring us into balance. How amazing is that? It is both a huge gift to hold that space for someone, and such a blessing when others do the same for you. The only thing we need to do is give our full compassionate attention to one another when we interact. It’s a huge game changer.