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.