Life and death depend on listening. All we need in life is one person who gets us, who understands and wants to keep understanding. This is food for the soul, nutrition for the mind, and sustenance for life.

A young man made his way into depth therapy. Through the years he made significant progress, healed deep pain from hidden trauma. One session he told me, "If I wouldn't have gotten here all those years back, I wouldn't be alive right now. You took me where I was, understood me when I felt like my back was against the wall and had no where to go. It kept me alive and still keeps me alive. You get me."

That's all I needed to here to keep me plugged into the vital importance of our relationship. Each session I remembered the words of depth psychologist, Wilfred Bion, "The purest form of listening is listening without memory or desire." When I listen to patients I don't want to have an agenda. I want to listen in the moment to their pain in the moment so that we discover the medicine, understanding, for the moment. 

Listening is medicine. It keeps us going when we know we are heard and that at least one other person in our life understands. There's something vital and healing to the simple truth that listening is medicine.

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Comment by Paul DeBlassie III on October 5, 2015 at 5:06am

Linda...definitely inspired..thank you.

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on October 4, 2015 at 11:34am

Good morning Holly + Paul - last night before retiring, I checked the home page and saw Holly's comment and I ended up writing a response that is probably more than anyone wants to read, however, these are important matters in depth to me during this, my virtual hermitage experience.  Therefore, I will share with those who care to read what came to me in the wee hours of the new day:

OCT 4/15 – 0010 - 0300 Contemplating Listening:

Good point Holly regarding sustenance!  We human beings have within us, much ability for adaptation and accommodation for phenomenal experiences [trauma, environmental, genetic malformations]; hence, the array of sensory-perceptual anomalies – hyperesthesia, hypoesthesia and synaesthesia, especially in regards to sight + sound and altered states when seeing and observing, listening and hearing are astute.  For example, the hearing + visually impaired do not need someone else to listen or see them to sustain themselves to survive by either of these senses.  However, we are all are social beings with real need [surreal, real or imagined], to be seen and/or heard [communicate] at some level using our ‘other’ non-impaired, sensory-perceptual grid of potential possibilities to compensate for losses [living, near + finite], both for sanity’s sake, plus to attend to/meet our innate attachment + belonging needs - essential throughout our time/existence on planet earth. 

Active listening and critical observation utilizing any of the proposed 10 'described' forms of sense perception [including nonverbal + auditory cues,] apparently can be naturally or supernaturally acquired during our unique growth and development maturation process and journeys through life.  Acquired anomalies are typically state-dependent - experientially formed.  So, if we truly go into the depths of one’s sensory-perceptual and extra-sensory-perceptual skill sets menu and grids, taking into consideration the importance of relational and the host of seen and unseen factors in the current and proposed ‘worldly’ dimensions, human beings profess to have experienced or received knowledge about, then, truly listening can be a gift, a blessing and/or even curse dependent upon the attitudes of the messenger, receiver or both and motivations to serve self/others regarding meaning and understanding of human behaviour and experiences.

My personal library text, Before We Are Born: Basic Embryology by Keith L. Moore is dated, however, i continue to refer to this source which is well written and Moore states, “the eyes and the ears begin to develop during the fourth week following fertilization, and acknowledges them as “special sense organs that are very sensitive to teratogenic agents, especially viral infections [1974, pg.225].”  We were taught in Critical Care Nursing that the 1st sense we are born with is hearing [2nd Trimester], which is also believed to be the last sense operational to death. 

I am currently reading a paper that discusses the 6th through 10th sense theories, which I have not read in it’s entirety – yet, let alone comprehend/ understand this work, plus the context of my own NDE's. 

Ah yes, so much to learn and so little time.  And, we constantly travel backwards to ancient texts and sacred writings.  For example, wisdom regarding spiritual dimensions acknowledges common truth that it is “those who have eyes, let them see, and those who have ears, let them hear.”  On some level, we all develop ability to hear and smell before we are born [some degree of primitive sense development as confirmed in natal studies]; therefore, listening and observing is truly critical and mystical.  We are amazingly made.   Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Paul DeBlassie III on October 4, 2015 at 10:04am

Good comments as we ponder the meaning of listening in life as sustenance, blessing definitely, many times enlightening, and, as Linda wrote, the soul always requiring special ears to hear.

Comment by Holly Esch on October 3, 2015 at 10:26pm

"Life and death depend on listening. All we need in life is one person who gets us, who understands and wants to keep understanding. This is food for the soul, nutrition for the mind, and sustenance for life."

Not everyone will have that in his or her life. Still, those people go on. Rather than describing it as "sustenance for life" I think of it more as a blessing. 


Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on October 3, 2015 at 3:04pm

Thank you Paul!  Special ears to hear...Peace + Love Linda

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