We don’t like to talk about pain. However, pain is real, and our stories are our truths which need to be held with love and compassion. Optimally, we should be able to acknowledge one and other’s pain by bearing witness, not by trying to repair the pain. We cannot change any of the events that might have happened, we might only listen to one and another share stories. This takes courage, a brave and compassionate open heart. We can stand and bear witness to pain. This is not necessarily easy; it makes us flinch to hear stories of pain. This is the human condition. However, when we stand and listen without trying to fix someone, it gives the other person the hope to go on, to experience relief in speaking their truths.
When we listen to someone share their pain, we all to often want to jump in and make things better be it through platitudes, or actions. This is not beneficial for either person. Just sit with the moment, let go of your impulse to help, yes let go of your impulse to help, and simply pause. This requires work, to let go of the impulse to help, and to just sit with the moment. People need to be able to speak their own truths in order to live with the pain. We need to be able to pause and to not fix anything, for there is nothing to be fixed. We need to bear witness to one another. Make space to listen and get comfortable with the reality of pain. There is a paradigm that says grief and pain need to be fixed, that they are problems that need to be solved. But, there is no way out, pain cannot be fixed. When we try to take away someone’s pain, it does not fix the pain in the other. We need to be able to acknowledge their pain, see their grief. This is how we extend companionship and love to another. This is BIG love. We cannot save anyone from pain, but we can acknowledge it, and this is what matters. Love is all there is, all that lasts.
When we listen to people, our language softens. Listening may be the cardinal act of giving . . . it is the source of peace. ~ Paul Hawken