I officially finished my first evening of class at the University of Santa Monica. I have to admit I was quite nervous and had no idea what to expect. As I got to the University though, it immediately felt welcoming by staff and other students. I expect it from staff but I wasn’t sure what to expect from everyone else. It felt though like everyone was so eager to meet others which was a very comforting feeling.
Upon class starting I just kept sitting there thinking… “I did it, I’m HERE”. It was somewhat of a surreal experience to look around and see all the different faces from all walks of life, all areas of the Country as well as some people traveling from other countries. After talking to a few people before school started, I felt the connective energy like we were all feeling the same. Unsure about exactly what to expect, nervous to start digging deep into our unhealed subconscious, but ready with excitement to start becoming better versions of ourselves. My first evening went amazing and I have a feeling you will get a lot out from me on these weekends that I have school being that I come out with new experiences and feelings fresh in mind.
Today we learned two basic skills. “Seeing the Loving Essence” and Heart-Centered Listening”. Two very important skills when learning to experience oneself as a soul having a human experience. Two VERY important skills that were great starters because it will help us throughout our experience at school to learn to see people as one and really grasp the truth of being souls having a human experience. The Professor called it, “seeing and hearing with Soul-centered eyes and ears”.
To sum up Seeing the Loving Essence, it is “not about solving people’s ‘problems’ nor is it about ‘fixing’ them. It is about how you will ‘be’ with them. In my own words I connected that it is about “SEEING” someone as another soul and connecting with them on that level versus the physical form that they seem to be. Connecting through the energy of LOVE. It is important because as we begin to connect more with ourselves as spiritual beings comes the ability to connect with others as spiritual beings. It leaves a space open for us to be accepting to others as they are in their truth rather than what their personality or ego may be projecting. A lot of times we like to hold on so much to the personality or ego because we use that to protect ourselves but it separates us and gives us excuses as to why we are different. We have to remember that personality and ego are just outside layers covering the truth of someone and underneath we really are all the same.
We then went into talking about the importance of listening from the heart. One of the things that “pinged” my mind (I got that description from a peer in class) was when the Professor stated that “words are just reference points that help us try to communicate something”…. he went on to explain “book and libro are just words that communicate something…they are describing the same thing but both words are NOT books, they are just words…Words are not the things they represent”. This stuck out to me a lot because I think I can tend to get caught up in the words being said and my meaning of them and less connected with the feelings and expression behind the words. A question he suggested we ask ourselves when listening to others was “What is being expressed behind the words being said?” We learned how to listen from the heart while being fully present. A major part of this was listening was resisting the urge to give advice. That’s where I knew there was a learning experience for me.
I talk to a lot of friends all the time. I tend to be someone my friends feel like they can talk to about meaningful situations. The thing is, I do find myself constantly giving advice, which I learned tonight that often while doing that you are more focused on listening with the intent to fix a problem versus just listening from the heart and connecting with the person talking. We have been trained all our lives to fix problems so it’s not surprising that it is the way most people listen. Because people tend to always come back to me for conversation, I often feel like my advice is worth giving, and truthfully maybe sometimes it is worth giving WHEN ASKED FOR, but I learned tonight that listening is one of the most important parts of connective communication.
At the end of the night we got into groups of three and we practiced talking, listening, and observing. Each person got a chance to do each. It was interesting to feel the drastic change in the energy when practicing each role and experience. Not only that, just relating to each other about how each of us felt being in each seat. Every time the group started a new conversation we started with focusing upon opening up into our authentic selves, setting an intention for that conversation according to what role we were in, and asking the spirits for help assisting us with our intention.
When I was in the “client” seat, I think this was the “hot seat” for us all, I felt how hard it can be for me to open up, be vulnerable, and speak from an authentic place deep within. I spend so much time giving advice that I often avoid being the talker. As the client We had to talk for 17 minutes about something meaningful to us. As I realized I was going to be the client for the first role, my first thoughts were “What am I going to talk to these strangers about for 17 minutes” . Because I was the only one at the time that was expected to talk and share, I was able to feel that vulnerability of feeling open and naked but was forced to work through the fears I was having at the time and open up about something that was meaningful to me. While I got to experience how it felt to share and be vulnerable, at the same time I got to feel what its like to be truly listened to and connected with. By being in this role I felt more powerful in my need to step in that fear and express myself more in the relationships that I have.
While being in the “facilitator” aka a listener’s seat, I was to listen while assisting to helping the “client” find their own answers by asking questions without giving advice. While sitting in this seat and listening to the client speak, I found the profound difference in “listening” and “hearing”. Most of the time I do a lot of hearing but not a lot of listening. I went into that seat with the intention to listen for the expression and less for the words. To also connect instead of seeking to solve a problem. My eyes opened a lot here because I felt I was able to connect with the client on such a profound level and just realizing how much I can miss out on with others because I’m not really listening from a place of love and connection. It also made me realize why TALKING to someone is so important. I do a lot of text or typing online with people and by doing that I am missing out on the key components of how listening is really effective. Through talking to someone, even better if it can be in person, you are able to feel the energy of what is being expressed in their tone and their meaning instead of just seeing words and attaching our own meaning to and tone to them.
Next time you are in a text conversation, it is very important to remember, as much as you think you are feeling and seeing what is being expressed, without the physical tone and energy of the other person talking, you really are ONLY attaching YOUR meaning to the words and what’s inside of YOU not them. Not only that, usually while texting, we are distracted at the same time so our attention is never fully present with the other person. I’ve learned to try to avoid trying to get into important conversations through text. Tell someone “I want to be able to be fully attentive and feel and connect with what you are saying, let’s talk on the phone or meet up in person”.
And finally being the observer, It was nice to see and connect fully with the relationship of two people having effective communication. Watching one be vulnerable while the other listens with their heart. To experience that from an outside view was very eye-opening and leads to more clear intentions of what I want my relationships to feel and look like. It also gave me the opportunity to purely just listen and see without the expectation or intention to be involved but just feel.
Overall, my experience of the first day was amazing and I can only imagine what the rest of the weekend, and year will feel like. As scared and nervous as I felt walking in versus how comfortable and safe as I felt walking out shows the power of a strong community of people and what a loving energy can give for someone. I can admit I had some judgement and assumptions towards the people in my group but that was immediately dissolved when I had the intention to feel their experiences. That one exercise that allowed me to feel a connection and similarity to the other two people in my group also allowed me to equally feel more connected with everyone in the room even though I had no conversation with them, and even those that I have relationships with outside of class and THAT is learning how to truly seeing the loving essence in everyone.
I cant wait to see whats next!
Remember the last time you were in a meaningful conversation with someone. How well were you engaging in that communication? Were your intentions to fix a problem? Did you give advice? Did you feel what the person was feeling without judgement or assumptions? If you were the talker, were you able to be vulnerable and open? If not, what was stopping you?
Challenge: Next time you are in a meaningful conversation with someone in person and you are the listener, I want you to set the intention to just listen to them and feel what is being expressed behind the word. Connect and see yourself in that person. See them through the lenses of soul centered eyes. If you are the talker, open up and be vulnerable. Feel the fear and do it anyways. Notice how it feels to be listened to or NOT listened to and still connect and see yourself in that other person. Then come back and comment how having soul centered eyes and ears felt?
Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments section below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else