I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who was having a bad day. Not only was she in some physical pain, but there was some psychological upset going on, too. My heart went out to her, and before I knew it I was pouring out words that sounded a lot like advice. At the time I was unconscious of trying to fix a perceived problem, but when I thought about the interaction afterwords, I realised there was a point where I was projecting my ideas onto her.
I should have just stayed in my heart, an organ that fortunately doesn’t have lips to put words to opinions and solutions.
You could divide the world up in two parts if you like to see things in black and white.
There are the people who are fixers and those who come across as needing fixing.
Those of us who fall into the fixer category are good at looking for solutions for other people’s problems and offering our best advice. Solicited or unsolicited.
Yoga teachers, even when they’re not officially qualified, often slip into counsellor mode. Students may perceive that the person up there teaching the class has some wisdom, gained perhaps by being disciplined and steeped in yoga philosophy. (In my case, I have grey hair (coloured) and wrinkles which perhaps enhance the wise woman persona.)
When I’m centred and in my heart, I know nothing but in a way that gives access to knowing just what is needed in the moment. This is one of the fruits of listening to and sensing the body when doing yoga practice. The practice has the potential to strengthen the skill of listening and giving a direct experience, rather than what you’ve been told or what you’ve read.
I think that if we take this listening skill into personal relationship, we won’t be as likely to filter the other person’s words through our experiences. We can be present to them and give them the gift of our listening, which is inherently healing.