When we listen to the stories of others what are we listening to?
When others tell us how, when, or where they got hurt, do we believe them?
We can listen to a story and agree with the speaker that the cause of their pain is external. We can hear they feel hurt because of what has happened to them. That is the way they are telling their story, but do we want to join them in their mistaken perception?
Once you experience that you choose your reactions and the events in your life are never the cause of how you feel, then you will never again be able to join another in their tale of woe.
I was leading a training recently for others to learn how to facilitate the Miracle Choice Game. It became really clear that listening as a facilitator is such a powerful gift. It is a gift because a facilitator does not agree with how a player tells their story, if they are telling it from a victim perspective.
The “Who hurt who?” story is always unhelpful.
The details of when an illness started, or what happened in childhood, are usually the parts of the story that try and identify the past cause of present feelings.
Miracle Choice facilitators are trained to silently ask themselves, “What is happening right now for the player when they are telling their story?”
If you are able to listen with the ears of love you will find that the person is telling you how they are feeling right now because of how they are thinking about some event in their past. You will hear the judgements, the perception of being hurt, the pain and the sadness of the person who is sharing, but you will not connect them to what happened in the past.
It is a gift to hear a person’s thought and feelings and know they are a present choice. It is easier to be present to painful thoughts when you know they are a choice.
Even if the other person does not choose to change their thinking in that moment, you know they can change when they are ready.
It is a miracle when someone accepts responsibility for how they feel without believing they are guilty because they used to blame others for making them feel bad!
It is a miracle when someone looks at their self-judgements with compassion!
It is a miracle when someone stays with their present feelings without hiding them in a story about the past!
In the role of a facilitator in a Miracle Choice game you may stop the player telling their story and point out that they are making a connection that does not exist. There is no link between their present pain and a past event unless they make one. If they make that link and hang onto it by re-telling their story they are limiting their experience.
Ultimately a facilitator gently leads a player to see a connection between their feelings and their present thinking. This is good news, if the player is ready for it.
I have found that after years of playing and then facilitating the Miracle Choice game that I am very aware of how I listen to myself and others. I am also aware of what I am doing when I open my mouth. If I say “this weather is so depressing” or “I am afraid ____ will happen”, I have already considered if the person who I am sharing with will agree with my judgements or challenge me! I know if I share my judgements to my partner, Catia, she will not let me away with my sloppy thinking! Mostly I just share my sloppy thinking with my inner Teacher who is the best listener around!
The awareness that comes with playing and facilitating the Miracle Choice game can be summed up in these words from A Course in Miracles:
“I am never upset for the reason I think” (Title of Lesson 5)
“I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked” (T-21. II. 2:4-5)