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The Art of Speaking Truth and Listening Well


In a previous article, we discussed the concept of Sacred Space, the art of manifesting physical and emotional conditions for closeness, honesty, respect, and being transparent.

You may find that attempting to create this type of intimacy, depth, and transparency can evoke fears and resistances. In fact, we all have fears, emotional and sexual wounds, resistances, or blocks. Unfortunately, hiding our fears and anxieties can prevent us from feeling safe and relaxed. Worse yet, we can become emotionally choked, shut down, or turned off - choosing to only show feelings that we think are "acceptable."

Ultimately, hiding our negative feelings only serves to give power to those feelings. Conversely, communicating and sharing with sincerity and trust dissipates this power. We can learn to accept and embrace all that we are - including what we normally repress or keep secret - and to practice the art of speaking truth.

Speaking truth can be healing, stimulating, refreshing, and exciting. Indeed, it can even be erotic. Speaking truth builds trust and respect, allowing you to let down your guard and relate in an undefended way. Speaking truth allows you to be more spontaneous, relaxed, and open - so more energy becomes available (it takes a lot of energy to hide your truth). Ultimately, speaking truth can expand and enhance your relationships, including lovemaking.

Speaking truth requires a commitment to being true to yourself, even if that means disappointing another. It also involves a commitment to the unfolding of truth (e.g., what is true for you now may not have been true 10 minutes ago, and may not be true two hours from now).

Just as the art of speaking truth can be developed, so too can the art of listening well. Listening to another's truth creates intimacy rather than distance. Listening well requires receiving another's truth (even anger and disappointment) with gratitude, acceptance, and compassion. It also requires that you accept the differences between you and the other person, knowing that both people bring gifts to the relationship that are nourishing and rewarding.

By speaking truth and listening well, you can learn to break out of old destructive communication patterns and self-limiting behaviors and use feelings of insecurity, hurt, fear, or defensiveness as opportunities for self awareness and transformation.

Angeles Arien, in her book The Four-Fold Way, offers a beautiful and timeless approach for speaking truth and listening well. Arien's Four-Fold Way involves: (1) Show up and be present. (2) Pay attention to what has heart and meaning. (3) Speak your truth (and listen to another's) without blame or judgment. (4) Don't be attached to outcome, be open to outcome.

The highest states of intimacy require a deep level of communication between you and your partner. Intimacy is inconsistent with hiding your feelings because the latter creates a split in you, preventing you from wholeheartedly participating in the moment of connection. In this way, conscious communication becomes a sacred communion between two beings.

By Marilynne Chophel

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