The most beautiful quality of all in a human being, in my humble opinion?
The ability to listen deeply.
To listen from Presence. From stillness.
To listen without trying to fix someone, or change them, or ‘save’ them.
The ability to allow another to be exactly as they are.
Not giving unsolicited advice. Not lecturing them about the latest psychological research or the ‘most true’ spiritual teaching. Not trying to mould them, manipulate them into matching a concept of who they ‘should’ be. Not projecting your own trauma – or traumatic answers – all over them.
Just listening. Listening with an open mind and an open heart and a receptive nervous system.
Allowing them to breathe, to express, to weep, to question, to be completely unique, to expand into the space, to discover their own truth.
I have met world experts in intimacy, relationships and honest communication who are unable to do this.
I have met spiritual gurus, so-called “enlightened masters”, expert psychologists and life coaches who are utterly unable to do this.
I have met popular teachers and authors on ‘listening from the heart’, ‘holding space’, ‘pure awareness’ and ‘embodied spirituality’ who are unable to do this.
It is a rare gift – the ability to allow others to be exactly as they are.
Broken. Whole. Sad. Angry. Afraid. Lost. Awake or asleep. Whatever.
To listen to them with every fibre of your being.
To receive them through the senses, to listen like the wild animals of the forest.
To swaddle them in undistracted, fascinated attention.
To envelop them in a silent, warm Presence.
To make them feel – in those precious moments that you are together – like they are the most beloved One in the whole Universe.
When you sense this kind of sacred listening from someone, it’s unmistakable.
It cannot be manufactured.
It cannot be faked.
It is utterly rare and holy.
It is nothing less than unconditional love.
Your nervous system senses it and rejoices.
– Jeff Foster
Photo: Jeff and Alice