People Hearing without Listening


 

Advice given from a sibling, parent, or a friend can be a troubling liability and will probably meet resistance from the recipient if it is unwelcome.  They may wish to impart wisdom to aid you, but many times we do not benefit from having another person give us advice unless it is sought out in the first place.  We in defiance of these verbal gems may just be able to figure it out ourselves, yet we are often stifled in the process when others impose their own thoughts upon our concerns.  For me, the purpose for telling others my struggles is not so much in asking them for their opinions and seeking out their counsel, as it is rather to hear myself working through the episode aloud and gain an empathetic allegiance from others knowing that I am perfectly capable of solving most of life’s curve balls.

If indeed they do listen to us, the act of which becomes a powerful talisman, can allow us to become silently supported without intervention of another opinion, and use our creative powers to free ourselves from the binding structures of our own creations.  They wish no harm to us, and they only want to help, but in replying to us by way of offering us guidance can lead to complete communication failure.  They are diminishing their respect for us and only promoting their solutions to “our problems”, something they do not own, nor in most cases have any involvement with.

People become transfixed into solving problems, and often make the mistake of offering their opinions about how to “fix” the problems other people are having when hearing their narratives.  Unfortunately these offerings only bring about a convoluted result.  They diminish the other person in that others often reach out for “understanding”, not necessarily soliciting others for information on “how” to fix the situation they are in.  Many times our situations do not need “fixing”.  Contrarily, I contend that the telling of our agitations to others in the presence of being “understood” elevates the psyche with strong medicinal factors to those that are ailing from these vexations.  It is not that we are incapable, it is only that we need understanding and thus supported in the process of listening over hearing any opinions on what the solutions may be to our healing.

 

 

If we lose our audience, we lose our trust in them.  My belief is largely based on my studies as an undergraduate in psychology.  I am disposed to thinking that Carl Rogers’ approach in his consultations was key in establishing a healthy working dynamic in communication.  Rogers believed that a therapist who embodies these three critical and reflexive attitudes will help liberate their client to more confidently express their true feelings without fear of judgement.

  1. Congruence – the willingness to transparently relate to clients without hiding behind a professional or personal facade.
  2. Unconditional positive regard – the therapist offers an acceptance and prizing for their client for who he or she is without conveying disapproving feelings, actions or characteristics and demonstrating a willingness to attentively listen without interruption, judgement or giving advice.
  3. Empathy – the therapist communicates their desire to understand and appreciate their clients perspective.

To do this, the client-centered therapist carefully avoids directly challenging their client’s way of communicating themselves in the session to enable a deeper exploration of the issues most intimate to them and free from external referencing.  Rogers was not prescriptive in telling his clients what to do, but believed that the answers to the patients’ questions were within the patient and not the therapist.  Accordingly the therapists’ role was to create a facilitative, empathic environment wherein the patient could discover the answers for him or herself.  If we draw a line of comparison to human relationships in general, the implications and successful communication dynamics are largely influenced by the work achieved from Rogers.

 

It is my bias, my understanding, and my study that have led me to conclude that human communications are indeed a highly esteemed skill to employ.  I am by no means an expert, I am by no means an authority, but when my inner fortitude becomes subject for an outsiders quibble (no matter how well intended they may be); and I find myself hearing the feedback from those whom may want to engage me with their psychological summations and epilogue’s, I lose all confidence in their credulity and am fully disenchanted.


 

“The Sound Of Silence”

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know –
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence.

 Paul Simon

S&G

 


 

An Island Never Cries


 

A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December
I am alone, gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
I am a rock, I am an island

I’ve built walls, a fortress deep and mighty that none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock, I am an island

Don’t talk of love well I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried
I am a rock, I am an island

I have my books and my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock, I am an island

And a rock can feel no pain
And an island never cries

 

The importance of supportive people in our lives is essential for any growth to occur if you are feeling down and having trouble getting out of the situation you are in by yourself.  We cannot rely upon our own voices when we are subject to a diminishing view of our affairs because we have the weight of our problems on our minds.  Our voices may take us away from an uplifted path that keeps us focused and rational.  We will often sabotage ourselves when these voices begin to take a dominant role in our thinking.  We begin to doubt ourselves, and we will neglect important daily functions, and even neglect anything that is not imperative for our being able to function without others knowing about our hidden pain we keep from their acknowledgements.

As for myself, I know all to well the burdens of an inner voice that will push out supportive help in times that one can benefit from such influence.  Why I continue to push others away is hard to say but it is still as painful as when I began this behavior during the time of my childhood many years ago.  As an adult, I have relied upon those close to me, but at times I have not had anyone to give me any emotional cadence in my time of need.  I don’t think it is for the same reasons that the Simon and Garfunkel song speak about; in that they reference a bitter unrequited love remark in the song I interpret as one that is of poetic sarcasm.  On the other hand I can relate to coping by isolation from others, as it is an intentional strategy to remove oneself from the potential of discovery.  The loss of trust in others can also bring about a failure to console with others.

Thus, we who think we are “islands” or “rocks” keep ourselves under the illusion that we do not need others to help us.  We are in fact self-sufficient and can do without the interference of others.  But this is only a lie we tell ourselves, a condition we impose to subsist without the help from others.  In my experience this seldom works, and is only a reminder of how we need the connection of others to give us sound information when we fail to see things in a clearer light.  We will lose ourselves in a fog of our own making if we cannot rely upon another sensibility, when we have forgotten our value and are challenged by a personal weakness of spirit.

What is most sad is that family members do not even know what is going on because of the nature of the relationship you are in.  They may be oblivious to the precarious nature of your thoughts, and do not reach out, but even more despairing is that they do not even really notice.  If you are indeed a good actor, you can fool them, which is fair to say that this is responsible for their nihilism of your condition.

The fact that so many people are living under such tribulation is testament to the widespread nature of this malady.  The breakdown of the family, the problems of the current state of affairs in human governance; geopolitics, economics, world poverty, racial escalation of indifference, and business ethics are symptoms of a culture in retrograde.  For these reasons alone the mind tells us that we cannot rely upon others.  The castle cannot be built upon the sand, and we continue to live thinking that this is justifying our behavior and continue to live in isolation.  But when all is said and done, we will never make a better vision unless we have the help from others who can right our errors of thinking.  We must rely upon others given the right foundations, otherwise we will not live to see better days.  We forget we can often be our worst enemy and be more brutal than the others we initially fear.

Understanding that the world can be a mad adventure, does not exclude that we must live under such conditions alone.  We should seek out those to help support our sanity.  Change can occur from resistance or from an inspirational fortitude.  Metaphorically the rock is hard and unchanging, but truthfully a rock can still erode from other forces upon it.  Removing the metaphoric analogy our strength does not come from being stoic and in isolation.  Rather, if we join our forces with others, strength can again become our salvation in a time of need.  Sealing our hearts off from the views of others may be the tale we tell ourselves to survive, and saving heartache is the reason for such a decision, but in truth we cannot use this kind of strategy for every occasion since we would dwindle our spirits down to an indistinguishable relic which would end up defining us as emotional apparitions.

Nay, we should learn to deal with this heartache and extend ourselves appropriately to others as to reignite our burning fires.

 

Alan W. Watts

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
Alan W. Watts
Confucius

“It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”
Confucius
Alan W. Watts

“If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot even trust your mistrust of yourself – so that without this underlying trust in the whole system of nature you are simply paralyzed”
Alan W. Watts
Leo Buscaglia

“Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”
Leo Buscaglia
Mother Teresa

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa