The Art of Deep Listening

When I was 22 years old, I went to see a medical medium.

Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because my mother wanted me to.

I was convinced there wasn’t possibly anything the medium could tell me about myself that I didn’t already know.

I was wrong.

Only it would take me many years to realize it.

I’d been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and had a lump the size of a lemon growing on the right lobe of my thyroid. As a result, every system in my body was working 3 times harder than it had to.

I wanted to know why.

The medium said it was karmic, a consequence of many lives of using my voice to elevate the voices of people who aren’t commonly listened to.

Only she didn’t say “listened to” she said “heard”.

I’ve thought about her words dozens of times throughout the last 20 years, especially since moving to Lopez and working as a translator and interpreter.

But in the last few days I’ve been thinking about the difference between hearing and listening, how some people are heard, and others are listened to, how vastly different the act of hearing and listening are, and how we might begin to listen deeper. Not only to others, but also to ourselves.

It occurred to me that, woven into the word hear is the word ear.


Something preconceived, something already written, held by definition and shape.

Listening, however, seems to be rooted in the abstract, the formless, free of opinion, of perspective, of advice.

I wonder then, if, within the mere act of hearing might we be keeping deep listening at bay?

Yesterday, I had a beautiful session with a healer.

I could feel my right knee pulsating in tiny spasms, the energy working its way through some sort of block that I could not name, that I did not understand.

There was a tightness in my throat, a tension in my heart, a warmth in my belly.

When I stopped trying to understand it and simply rested in the sensations, I was flooded with deep understanding of what the medical medium had shared with me so many years ago. Only there was one small realization.

No one wants to be heard.
We all long to be listened to.

And in order to listen deeply, we must first calm our fires within. We must open our senses, free ourselves from the stories and opinions that might muddy the paths, and listen without the shade of our own experience.

We must become silent.

Heart in my hand in yours,

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