Since early last year I have been trying to find the best way to develop resilience, both in my life and working practice. With all the chaos and change that is happening in the world, I wonder how we can authentically be there for each other? The shock of seeing the shadow present in so many of our major institutions, how can I find and develop trust without hardening to hopelessness?
Last October I received a certificate in Deep listening, from Ros Oliver, after attending a five day intensive course at Dzogchen Beara. If you have never had the opportunity to visit or stay, I really recommend it, either for educational purposes (they run a wide varying education programme) or for a bit of R&R, it is the perfect place to unwind and discover your natural pace. I am drawn to contemplative ways of working and was made aware of the course via Rigpa’s spiritual care programme. They offer a non-denominational, contemplative-based care and education, to discover our own inner resources for well-being and wholeness. (In my next post, I will tell you in more detail about an on line course I did with them, on Cultivating mindfulness and Awareness in End of Life Care.)
Deep listening combines two streams in it’s development: contemporary psychology and the Buddhist tradition of mindfulness and compassion. The course is open to all professionals from all professions. Our group ranged from body workers, Soul Midwives, palliative care volunteers , lawyers working in the field of conflict resolution, GP’s, film makers, bereavement councillors, psychotherapists, parents, clowns, yoga teachers, nurses, consultants and the added bonus was that half the class was Dutch. Deep listening is growing fast in the Netherlands due to the hard work of the deep listening team and the open heartedness of the Dutch.
The programme for the five days was well structured, informative and practical. All the exercises were hugely informative and innovative. In the Seminars, we learnt about the elements that make up the deep listening model, how to listen deeply, what qualities are needed to listen deeply, what is the somatic experience of deep listening…Ros taught us how to give and receive feed back, which became a vital tool in understanding how it feels to listen. All the time, we were developing awareness and skills, that could help us let go of judgement and the need to find answers.
The practice of deep listening provides an opportunity as a listener, to come into our body with awareness, provide a supportive presence and generate a compassionate connection. This model of listening gives protection for both the speaker and the listener. The listener is present to ‘what is’ and provides a compassionate, congruent, non- judgemental safe space for the speaker to say what’s on their mind, without interruption or interjection, which allows truth to surface and for answers to be discovered for oneself. For me I find it most useful in difficult situations, where words a rendered useless, where there is nothing to be said, it helps me to build the resilience not to flee when faced with difficulty and to avoid burn out. It has taught me to care and look after myself so that I can genuinely be there for the other. For more information about Deep listening and for course information please click on the link in the second paragraph.