How to Cultivate Your Inner Shaman

You can become a healing presence to those around you just by simply learning how to listen.

It is called ”active” because the listener has a very definite responsibility. He does not passively absorb the words which are spoken to him.

From the book Active Listening, Carl Rogers & Richard Farson

Have you ever poured your heart out to somebody only to sense they’re only half paying attention?

It’s a shitty feeling. You feel cheated out of the experience. Belittled from the absence of the listener.

Good conversation is built upon active listening.

Active listening is simple to understand but takes effort to practice. It consists of listening to both the content of what’s being spoken and immersing yourself in the feeling behind it. The second part is especially important as this attribute of active listening can heal not only the speaker but you, the listener.

Let’s dive into why that is and how we can develop the capacity to actively listen to others with the help of Carl Rogers & Richard Farson, the people who coined and developed the term in 1957.

We 10x Our Social Skills by Simply Learning How to Listen

He actively tries to grasp the facts and the feelings in what he hears, and he tries, by his listening, to help the speaker work out his own problems.

Active Listening, Carl Rogers & Richard Farson

You don’t 10x your social skills by thinking of a reply instead of listening.

I’ve made this mistake and I still do it from time to time in meeting new people.

However, I do it less and my social circle expanded in proportion to how much I am actively listening.

If you’re not actively listening to others in a conversation, you’re not having a conversation, you’re passively listening to a boring lecture. This conversation doesn’t have to be boring. It is only made so because the speaker isn’t truly being listened to. Then, when they feel that we aren’t listening, they respond by not listening as well. Conversation OVER! (if there was even one to begin with)

Just as one learns that anger is usually met with anger, argument with argument, and deception with deception, one can learn that listening can be met with listening.

Active Listening, Carl Rogers & Richard Farson

Just as listening is met promptly with listening, not listening is met with the same…

Then We Become a Shaman to the World

Active listening carries a strong element of personal risk. If we manage to accomplish what we are describing here–to sense deeply the feelings of another person, to understand the meaning his experiences have for him, to see the world as he sees it–we risk being changed ourselves. Active Listening, Carl Rogers & Richard Farson

In the book, Rogers and Farson proclaim that to truly listen means to objectively see ourselves from the view of the person we’re talking to. With this comes the risk of conflict with our self-identity. But with great risk comes great reward.

Therefore, the opposite is true too.

When we accept the risk we also accept the potential of the conversation being a source of mutual healing and growth.

Active listening proposes that both parties are intimately connected through the content and feeling behind what they’re talking about. The process has a curative capacity in and of itself. Rogers and Farson state that clinical research clearly shows that active listening is responsible for both the growth of the individuals and the group at large. This is how active listening can heal the world.

I truly believe that individuals wanting to enact positive change in the world must first heal themselves.

Active listening is the way to do this & you’d be surprised where it takes you.

A person’s listening ability is limited by his ability to listen to himself.

Active Listening, Carl Rogers & Richard Farson


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