What is it that helps us heal emotionally, and does that which helps us heal emotionally also help us heal physically? There continues to be mounting evidence that our emotions have a strong influence regarding our physical health. When we are more relaxed our immune system functions better. We have known for years that stress is a major contributor to heart disease and hypertension. There are estimates that stress plays a role in 75 to ninety percent of all diseases. It just slowly wears our bodies down over time. Unfortunately many of us don't even realize that we are holding so much tension in our bodies. I recently saw an interview that occurred several years ago with Oprah Winfrey and Thich Nhat Hanh. (If you are not familiar with him, he headed the movement which opposed the Vietnam war, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luthur King Junior.) He talked about what he calls "Deep Listening", and the healing power of being present with another as they are suffering. Not only can this practice help the people we love, but it also has the power to reduce conflict and heal our world. He talks about letting go of judgment and being present despite the inaccurate perceptions of the other. They get a chance to express themselves, even if their grievance is with us. He says it is our compassion that can protect us from their negative energy. According to Nhat Hanh if we in any way inhibit the other from expressing themselves we are practicing incorrectly. Sounds much like "active listening", and the approach of the Native Americans when the enlist the help of the "Talking Stick", Although I often talk about active listening I want to hold onto the concept of "Deep Compassionate Listening", as I continue to practice my own listening and being present. Powerful and powerfully respectful! I suspect that we all underestimate our potential for healing both ourselves and others. To improve our ability to help others from suffering he says we need to take the time to be aware of our own suffering and respond without judgment. So I guess that developing compassion is a way, not only to protect ourselves from others negative energy, but,to protect ourselves from our own negativity and self shaming habits?. Old habits are difficult to break. In the past even in couples counseling and marriage counseling partners have been encouraged to express and release negative emotions, The ratio of positive to negative emotions is extremely important as well as the approach we use when we discuss our concerns and complaints.
Deep Listening, Compassion,and Healing
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