Deeply Listening to Another

Recently I was teaching Radiant Child Yoga at Kripalu.  We came to the Deep Listening section of Level 3, the summit point of the entire 30 hour training.  I was so appreciative of the section written by my husband, Kartar.  I decided to share it here so many more can benefit from its wisdom and insight:

    Suspension of Judgment and the Creation of Safe Space

How many of us remember conversations with our parents in which we only wanted to share ourselves, or we longed to reach out and be heard, and what we got back was automatic, unthinking judgment and a quick dismissal.

The creation of a safe space is the foundation of the support process.  When our children feel safe coming to us with their problems, when they sense that they can make progress by working things out in our presence, a crown jewel of communication has been created. Not only children, but all of us, have to feel emotionally safe before they will share honest thoughts and feelings.

A safe space is created when the speaker and listener are connected without a sense of me-you, weak-strong, inferior-superior. Suspension of judgment not only means engaging one’s witness self to observe any judgments rather than identifying with them, it means the full and joyful acceptance of even the worst in the other person.  That is the true meaning of compassion.

In fact, embracing the darkness actually enlightens it, and true compassion is a co-creative act of blessing and release.  We become enlightened not by imaging figures of light or grand modes of behavior or holding onto ideals, but by making, one step at a time, the darkness conscious (enlightened).

It means having compassion for a fellow human being at a timeless moment and seeing the wisdom and power that lie with the other.

Moving beyond judgment means:

 Taking responsibility

Moving slowly

Deepening Awareness

Holding paradox

Opening the heart

Sacrificing ideals of perfection

Living the mystery

Written by Kartar Khalsa

From Heart and Soul Work with Children Training Manual, Radiant Child Yoga, level 3

By | 2016-12-28T21:22:03+00:00 July 19th, 2011|awareness, Children's Yoga, meditation, Uncategorized|2 Comments

About the Author:

Shakta is an AMS certified Montessori teacher, and the author of five well-known Yoga books, CDs and DVDs. Her latest book, The Yoga Way to Radiance: How to Follow Your Inner Guidance and Nurture Children to do the Same, is scheduled for release in summer of 2016, (Llewellyn Worldwide)   Visit Shakta's Writing and Poetry Site


  1. zensational kids: Allison Morgan July 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    How did you know that I needed to read this again in the past 24 hours. Somehow the message got to me at 4am today as I lay awake in bed with my 16 daughter who was petrified of her oral surgery scheduled at 8am. Although she was frantic, sobbing, shaking and screaming (threatening to drink a glass of water so that they couldn’t do the surgery). I knew that by remaining calm, breathing, listening and reconfirming that she was safe and would be safe during the surgery, she would come to, at least, an OK place with the situation. As I listened to her ranting, I could see myself taking the side of, “you are tired, irrational, stop complaining, go back to bed!” In that moment, I knew that she needed to express her fear, emotion and anxiety. She did not want me to keep telling her she would be fine. An attentive ear, an open heart and a calm breath……….a long shower and an hour of playing cards on the couch……….There were no more tears, no more words. The surgery came and went. Another opportunity for us to be closer and for her to see her inner strength.

  2. radiantchildyoga July 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Kartar reminded me that his training in communication facilitation with the wonderful Washington DC based group, was the inspiration for this writing.

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