The Essence of Understanding

April 14, 2010

“When we are mindful, we notice that another person suffers. The other person may be a husband, a wife, or a child. If one person suffers, that person needs to talk to someone in order to get relief. We have to offer our presence, and we have to listen deeply to the other person who is suffering. That is the practice of love–deep listening. But if we are full of anger, irritation, and prejudices, we don’t have the capacity to listen deeply to the people we love. If people we love cannot communicate with us, then they will suffer more. Learning how to listen deeply is our responsibility. We are motivated by the desire to relieve suffering. That is why we listen. We need to listen with all our heart, without intention to judge, condemn, or criticize. And if we listen in that way for one hour, we are practicing true love. We don’t have to say anything; we just need to listen.      “The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”    –Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you Quma Learning & Dennis Deaton

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One Response to “The Essence of Understanding”

  1. sandy Says:

    Being present & not looking at the clock on the wall. Considering only what is being said in that moment. Powerful!


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