One condition for the possibility of listening is silence. A second is stillness.
Each time I sit down to do a session with a client, I approach the experience in the same way I approach reading or hearing a poem. One day it dawned on me that every session is a new poem and my job is to hear it, to hear it as fully and deeply as I can, and out of this hearing, with as open an ear as I can offer, to reflect it back to the speaker in a way that helps the speaker hear his or her own story and his or her own listening to that story. The shared listening between myself and my client carries both of us toward what is ready to be uncovered. It carries us toward the truth in the spirit of the ancient Greek sense of “aletheia,” or “to uncover.” Listening to Parmenides’ poem encourages me to expect that something unexpected and amazing can happen in any single therapy session, as in an entire therapy process, as in life itself, when our listening carries us toward what we don’t know yet, toward what is still hidden even as it is being uncovered. Moving toward our not knowing is where healing happens. As I hear Parmenides, he encourages us to live there where our knowing borders our not knowing, to lean into our not knowing as we listen, to speak into it, to let it show itself to us and to invade our knowing.
Listening is at the fundament of every encounter, not only between people, for it's also there between people and things and between things themselves, listening each in its way to everything else, like the fenceposts, that see and hear everything from where they stand. This openness to the fundamental connecting that listening sponsors, calls forth, calls out, evokes, whatever way we verb this, is the wild and the true coming at us at full gallop, always and always, or as the Buddhists might say, now and now and now... Even in our missing it, it has us.