Life is so full of things to DO, it's easy to get "lost in busy," and take for granted the connections we have with those most dear to us. Like the other meditations in this section of the library, you practice this with a partner.
I encourage you to invite anyone you care about to try this with you. Remember, you are extending an invitation, not holding an expectation. This will not feel like a fit for everyone, and yet, for those willing, you may experience a sense of deep and renewed heart connection.
Sit across from your partner, knees touching (meaning there is nothing in-between and you feel a non-active physical contact), so that you may regard one another eye to eye.
Both partners close your eyes and take ten deep breaths. Settling into this position and your own body. If you need more than ten breaths, allow yourself that space. The intention is to allow yourself and your partner to arrive in this moment.
This mindfulness exercise has been borrowed from "Supercoach," Michael Neill. If you like this one, visit Michael Neill's website for more great information.
Different from many of the meditations offered, this requires you to be in conversation with another person - a Valentine, perhaps? Choose any specific conversation today where it will be safe for you to try this, or you can choose to practice it throughout the day. It will be equally effective on the telephone or face to face.
Begin by putting your attention on your physical heart. If it is appropriate, you can actually place your hand over your heart. Take three deep breaths while continuing to focus on your heart. Thinking a "happy thought" (when Neill's daughter was two years old, she liked to imagine a little kitten purring in her heart - he prefers a puppy!) will help "activate" your heart energy.
Continue to focus on your heart and loving the other person as you listen to them speak. If you find yourself up in your head, arguing, wandering, responding, or even "helping," just bring your attention back into your physical heart.
reminding you of who you be,
so you may live your best possible life!
When appropriate, reflect back to the other person what you have been hearing. This both helps them to clarify their thoughts and affords them the opportunity to feedback to you what you may have missed.
Check in with your heart before you add any of your own input to the conversation - you will be surprised at the depth this brings to your communication, and it is not at all unusual to come up with insights that are both apt and truly helpful.
There are three levels of communication in this model - the words, the feelings, and the essence, or "real" meaning. Deep Heart Listening is designed to help you get to the "real" meaning, and allows you to connect with people at the essence level.
This means being open to whatever time your partner needs to arrive. If you find the other is "taking too long" - close your eyes and begin the ten breaths again. It is vital that you first show up for yourself, before attempting to engage with your partner.
When you are both ready, one will begin by asking, "Where are you now?"
Maintaining eye contact, the responding partner answers the question with whatever feels true in the moment. The answer may be as simple as "here" to "I feel anxious" or "my shoulders are tight" or "it feels hard to stay present." Whatever comes, trust it. Don't censor your thoughts, simply speak your truth.
The asking partner ONLY LISTENS. And when the answer is complete, and each person has a chance to take a breath or two, ask the question again, "Where are you now?"
This exchange continues for a minimum of five minutes.
When the first five minutes is complete, both close your eyes for ten breaths and begin anew, with the roles reversed, for another five minutes. You may continue the loop for as long as you like, just be sure that each person has equal opportunity to be heard.
One important note about the listener role. Listening and asking the exact same question again and again, with heartfelt compassion are the ONLY things to do. If your partner laughs, cries, says something that doesn't make sense...no matter what they do, your sole responsibility is to listen compassionately, and ask the same question again with genuine curiosity.
You may be tempted to reach out, ask a follow up question, turn your eyes away, give an answer to what's being spoken. Take a breath, and stay present to what your partner is offering you, knowing there is NO THING for you to do.
If you are the speaker, you may find that you want to close your eyes, cover your face, get answers from your partner, edit your words, etc. Stay true to yourself for yourself. This is your opportunity to be heard in all your truth - whatever is real in that moment - grant yourself this space.
When the exchanges are complete offer the words, "Thank you for sharing," and bow to your partner.