Love in the Moment
Listening in the Moment
The 5 minute 5 minute Game
Changing your Life in 20 minutes
People don’t listen.
They sort of listen to the beginning of what someone is saying.
And then stop listening except for the smallest smallest amount, putting their attention instead on formulating their oh-so important response.
Then look for a slight slow down in the talkers speaking.
Then they interrupt to insert their oh-so important response.
The first speaker, robbed of a chance to finish, or maybe even get started, immediately begins to non-listen and formulate their counter interruption.
The game of this chapter is one cure for that.
It is practice in real listening, the giving of attention, in the present moment.
Is not love very much the same as giving attention in the present moment without demand or judgment?
This is where being present and love merge: real, unhurried listening.
This is good for your relationship.
Any relationship. (I’ve done this with strangers, with kids, with groups having a pleasant but boring Thanksgiving dinner, with a shy girlfriend who all her life had never really not been interrupted and who burst out crying when she was finally listened to)
This is a way to build and to deepen love.
It can be romantic love.
It can be deep friendship.
It can be human connection so radically missing in the era of texts and media bombardment.
People are lonely.
People are not in the Now.
Lives are often fairly meaningless.
This is a way out.
This is part of the reason that Carol and I were able to go from “sort of” friends, to “We’ve found our life partner in twelve hours.”
We did this back and forth for at least three hours.
How about you give it a try for twenty minutes?
This doesn’t have to be with a romantic partner, or in pursuit of a romantic partner. (Though if you want a Soul Mate, deep listening is going to be part of the soil in which your soul work develops)
Find another human, or group of humans.
Listen/ Love Building/ Presence Building / 5 minute 5 minute Game
Sit facing each other. Eye contact.
(Or have a small group, no more than 6, in a circle. )
Set a timer for 5 minutes (3 minutes if going around a circle)
Talker: One talks
From the present
About what they notice in the present, about what’s important in their lives, about what comes up when given the stage and no hurry.
If in the circle, the speaker never comments on what anyone else said, or on any of the people in the circle.
If two people, for the first couple of weeks, refrain from any comments on the other person, or what the other person said.
If the speaker “runs out of steam”
Just be silent for the rest of their turn. And people or the other person give them full attention as if they were talking
Talk of gratitudes
Talk of present awareness
Be vulnerable/ honest: I want to say something brilliant and can’t think of it
Important: if the speaker “runs out of steam,” no helping, encouraging “You can do it,” and no falling for, “You go ahead now, I’m done.” They aren’t done until the timer chimes.
One, or several listen
Anything else they like as a presence opener (Sensing feet and hands, sensing heart, smiling, feeling gravity, noticing colors)
Hear each word
Whisk away the usual thoughts of your oh-so important response (since you won’t say it, anyway)
Do not interrupt.
This might be “hard.”
Good. That’s when it’s deeply necessary.
Go back and forth at least twice.
This can be addicting in a very positive way, so go back and forth as much as you have time for.
I did this with a church group when visiting an old high school friend (old friend who was sixty like me at the time).
We went several rounds with their leadership team.
Several said they knew more about each other at the end of this then they had learned in 4 years of being together.
I did this with a volunteer and her niece at a garden I was creating in Sonoma, California, known now as the Sonoma Garden Park. At the end the niece said that if she and her mom could do this, it would completely change her life.
As I mentioned, the shy girlfriend, who as youngest in the family and ex long term partner and co-parent with an extravagant artist who sucked all the air out of the room, when she was finally listened to, burst out crying.
At one yoga retreat, we were sitting on the grass just starting this is a small group, and the cook came to join us. Said it changed her life.
Most people are starving for real connection.
Most people are starving for a chance to express and explore without interruption.
And even this, most people are starving for a chance to deeply listen.
Listening is Love.
Love is who we are.
Love is good.
You are good.
Listen well today, in talking or not.
And . . .
Enjoy your day.