It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.
Three decades as a Rolfer taught me that the “presenting symptom” is never the problem. If the problem is chronic, then the cause(s) is always another place in the body.
To see that, I usually need to back away and stop looking at what is jumping out at me–and banging on my client. I watch the person move, I listen what they say and how they say it, I feel their bodies first with my eyes then with my hands. All along I’m going for the gestalt, the underlying song they sing.
As I hear their song, I see the dots connecting, creating a deeper pattern of hidden messages. As I listen to their story and hear them describe their pain, I hear the back beat of their song.
Today with multimedia and multitasking, we don’t sit still to listen to our own—or others’—back beat. As men we jump to analyze, evaluate, or fix. We run to put out the immediate fire not realizing that, like many forest fires, the fire is spreading through the roots.
Ask yourself, what is he saying? Listen to what he is really telling you, then let that be the background music. Start listening to his deeper story. It might be a story that was never told, even to himself. When you hear the unspoken, you are hearing the man.
As you start to move to his beat, ask questions that take him deeper into that unspoken story. Go slow–you don’t want him to stop that beat. You want him to hear that beat he never fully heard or felt.
Now you are discovering the person and not being distracted by the symptoms, stories or the labels. You aren’t studying his disease; you are exploring and connecting deeply to the man. This witness to that hidden part you bring can be the most powerful healing the man (or woman) could receive. Not only are you getting to know the person, you are helping the person know him- or herself.
Listen like you haven’t ever listened. Listen beyond all the noise in you, the environment and the other person. Let us know how it goes.