Listening with Presence and Love
By Christine Longaker
a friend is in tremendous emotional or physical pain, sometimes we're afraid
to go and be with him or her, or afraid of communicating honestly when
we visit. We think we should know how to relieve our friend's pain,
or have just the right things to say. Yet what a person who's suffering
most needs is our presence. What we bring to support a friend is
our loving presence. More than anything we do or say, what helps
a person who is suffering is how we are.
presence is an expression of our confidence, the profound love and unqualified
respect for others we have come to embody through our spiritual practice.
"How we are" is also connected to our awareness of our own suffering and
the extent to which we have worked through our grief. And finally,
our loving presence depends upon our ability to acknowledge and the release
our fears and expectations, remaining compassionate and receptive toward
the other person.
a daily practice of meditation, and then training ourselves to integrate
the mindfulness of meditation whenever we communicate, helps us develop
these qualities of loving presence, authenticity, and confidence.
meditation is more than a relaxation exercise; it is a practice designed
to connect us to our innermost essence of wisdom. When our mind settles
deeply in meditation, the conceptual mind and ordinary sense of self may
temporarily dissolve, and we experience a gap between our thoughts: a wakeful,
clear, radiant awareness unstained by hopes, fears, or habitual projections.
Pursued deeply and sincerely, spiritual practice enables us to purify and
release the emotional conditioning and self-grasping ego that separate
us from reality. Listening like this connects us ever more reliably
and profoundly to a natural, effortless awareness, in which there is a
deep relaxation and spaciousness, an unbounded gratitude, and an all-embracing,