Showing posts from February, 2010
A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning

~ Rumi

In my work with couples, I teach them how to listen, using an exercise derived from Jung’s concept of the imago. Sometimes I refer to this exercise as a mirroring exercise when in fact it is a listening exercise.

I discovered the word “otology” this past week, the science of hearing. I was struck at how close it is to the word “ontology”, the study of being. In French, the word understanding is translated as “entendement”, as hearing versus, say, “illumination” or enlightenment.

When we listen, we are present in a way that mirrors without seeing. It is mirroring with our inner ear turned to the other while also inwardly attuned to the mystery of ourselves. We go through the spiral corridor of being when we go through the door of listening.

The turning leads to vertigo and a kind of madness from being decentralized. How difficult it is to hear someone in their own …
Look at the flowers, so faithful to what is earthly,
To whom we lend fate from the border of fate.
And if they are sad about how they must wither and die,
perhaps it is our vocation to be their regret
Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (XIV)

We talk about “survivors” of abuse instead of “victims”, because the former seems to buttress the empowerment we believe to be vital to healing.

But who exactly survives abuse? Surely not the same one as before.

Abuse cleaves us from our power. Victims know this. Retribution tries to redress the imbalance, but it cannot. Not because it heaps wrong upon wrong but because integrity, once broken, cannot be restored. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men…

Healing arises in knowing that emotional pain bears witness against the violation, not as a call to avenge it, but as the heart’s regret, grieving transgressions.

Wholeness cannot be taken away because we are woven into something of which we cannot be dispossessed: the web of being that connects us all …