From the ListenTruly.com BlogWhy Add A Professional Listener To Your Mindfulness Practice
Friday, July 06, 2018
by Mubeena, Founder at ListenTruly.com
You do not need to be a monk or a spiritual ninja to practice true mindfulness. A Listener will help you be mindful without you having to be an expert at supreme talents like meditation, concentration, relaxation, levitation, going under hypnosis or a past life regression. Be awake and get mindful by working consistently with a professional listener.
One thing is ever so true about us humans. We are naturally drawn to pressure. All of us are addicted to looking for the next stress inducer just so we can wage war to get over it. Think about it. When work calls, we’re the first ones there. When our family calls, we drop everything and go attend to our spouses and kids. When our health calls, we go worrying to our doctors to take the ailment away immediately. We react to stressors with fright or flight today even though we’re not Neanderthals anymore. Why?
Well, it gives our brain the temporary message that we are useful, busy and important at this time.
And hence the latest craze called mindfulness. I do not mean to sound sarcastic. Taking a break every hour, absorbing what’s outside your window for a sweet second, and meditating in a quiet place are all very noble suggestions. No matter how much we know about what works, it actually comes down to doing it.
So have you ever set aside those precious 60 seconds to correct the wrong way you’ve been breathing all morning?
Most of us aren’t able to find that red-hot minute effortlessly because remember, we are geared to look for unwanted stress. The ego that constantly asks you to prove you are powerful demands daily pressures on your body, mind and soul.
So if we can’t even get to that red-hot minute, the practice of true mindfulness sounds like blatant wishful thinking.
Consciously increasing your self-awareness of the present moment with total acceptance of what you are feeling sounds like it’s only reserved for ascended masters up in the Himalayas. What hope is there for us mortals?
But there is hope. There may be a faster, deeper and more self-conscious way to true mindfulness without pretending to be a monk. And it involves our intense need to be understood and validated by someone else.
I’m talking about working with a professional Listener. Not a counselor, psychotherapist, life coach or any kind of guru. Someone who offers pure empathy by listening to what’s on your mind even if you are all over the place… and not be judged, diagnosed, advised or told what to feel, be or do. Ok, so how does this work, and why should it work?
Here are 5 situations in which to consider a professional Listener as a mindfulness resource.
You are not successful at meditation
Do you make regular time to meditate? And if you do, are you able to really mute out your thoughts on demand? If you are like most of us mortals, you might be able to keep your thoughts at bay for a few seconds but not much more. So you might as well get your thoughts out of your system and face the fact that you are thinking them. This is the first step to self-awareness anyway. Talking to a Listener regularly gives you an opportunity to sit down and tell yourself, “Now get aware of your thoughts”. Self-awareness is what mindfulness aims for but you probably would not do this by yourself unless you are a spiritual ninja.
You think talking to yourself in front of a mirror is madness
A big part of mindfulness is to face “who you are”. Spiritualists talk about mirror work, where you look into your favorite mirror and talk to your reflection, as if you are out of your own body looking down at you. This seems a tad bit crazy, weird and downright silly. But the real reason we don’t like this idea is fear of the warped things we’ll end up saying to our reflection, like “you are no good” or “you don’t deserve that position” or “at least I’ve got nice hair if not anything else”. We do end up beating ourselves up a lot of the time. Now if you had a compassionate Listener at the other end, you can get out of your own way and you do not have to face your reflection just yet. There’s another entity you can talk aloud to whose job it is to show you a better reflection of you. It will feel easier and lighter to speak to yourself through someone else who acts like your favorite mirror.
You are not into journaling
Another method mindfulness experts suggest is to maintain a daily journal of the day’s events and document how they made you feel. I personally love the idea of journaling, but many of my clients admit they do not do well with it. They can’t really face their feelings alone without hurt, anger or depression coming to the surface. At the end of it they tell me about feeling more isolated when nobody is around to share in the emotional journey. Journaling is a way to ‘take stock’ of your day or week allowing you to process at your own pace. A real Listener will be your real live ‘stock taker’ and the value is in the sharing of experiences. A Listener laughs when you laugh, offers space when you are tired, and empowers you to process the way you want. Telling your story each week to a real person builds resilience. You will go about your day with a knowing that every event, incident, feeling, experience, joy and challenge will be offloaded onto an actual human being who wants to be in your shoes.
You don’t want just inner peace. You want validation
Inner peace is the holy grail of mindfulness. But most of us in the real world first seek validation… for what we’re thinking, how we’re going about life and how we’re feeling. Inner peace is a far more herculean task if other human beings do not validate us first. The world knows humans are social animals who yearn for acceptance. A Listener wants to connect to your situation and offer acceptance, understanding and validation. Their job is to validate whatever you are feeling, thinking and doing. Sometimes you just want a neutral person to hear you out and simply agree, with no need for persuasion. Working with a Listener who keeps your inner piece leaves you freer for that inner peace.
You have issues that are beyond therapy, coaching or medicine
Some issues are too small or too big for conventional therapy. What issues are those that take you away from enjoying each moment? I believe there are many issues apparently unsolvable where a Listener can provide invaluable support. I call them “pattern issues”, i.e. situations you’ve faced your whole life that you can’t seem to get to the root cause of. Examples include chronic health niggles, relationship patterns you didn’t ask for, tendencies that you don’t like about yourself (laziness is a big one), etc. A Listener can help make patterns part of your persona by cutting out shame, blame, anger, guilt or resentment. Most clients come to me expressly not wanting therapy or coaching. They do not want to be diagnosed as having something “wrong” and neither do they want patronizing advice on how to “get shit done”. The sole purpose of a Listener is to fully understand and accept your present state, while staying in the moment with you. When someone is handholding you in your current state, it makes it much easier for you to stay present in the now.
Summary of Article
The Big Ideas
The ego that constantly asks you to prove you are powerful demands daily pressures on your mind. So the practice of true mindfulness sounds like blatant wishful thinking.
02. the way
There may be a faster, deeper way to true mindfulness without pretending to be a monk. And it involves our intense need to be understood and validated by someone else.
A Listener regularly gives you an opportunity to tell yourself, “Now get aware of your thoughts”. Just like mindfulness, self-awareness is what a professional listener wants for you.