Thursday, October 20, 2005

Everybody wants to be heard

I'm loving Newsweek's special report on "How Women Lead." I even love the IBM ads ("The pundits say growth is impossible. We need new pundits.").

Oprah's article on leadership deserves quoting:

I understand that the common denominator in the human experience from the thousands of people that I've talked to is that everybody just wants to be heard.

The only time I've made a bad business decision is when I didn't follow my instinct. My favorite phrase is, "Let me pray on it." Sometimes I literally do pray, but sometimes I just wait to see if I wake up and feel the same way in the morning. For me, doubt normally means don't. Doubt means do nothing until you know what to do.

When you can use your voice in a way that really speaks to people, it resonates. Whether it's a school or a book or just an idea. That's what fun is. That's what living really is. Living with a capital L.

I've often thought that if I had to date the event that changed the national dialog and made us more willing to face problems and talk about them, it would have to be The Advent of Oprah. She had a huge impact on bringing taboo subjects into the light for examination and repair. I don't think we talked much about anything before her.

Being (and feeling) heard is so empowering that I think it's essential for healing. The healer has to have a certain degree of empathy to be effective. You have to appreciate what the person's going through even as you're seeing them as already on the other side, healed and whole.

I think Jesus had this empathy, certainly. One story that is in the Bible Lesson this week really struck me as being the perfect healing conversation. It's the story of the father and his epileptic boy. Notice the dialog, I've italicized it.

And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

--Mark 9:14-29

It seems like the disciples were standing around arguing with the scribes and the man before Jesus appeared on the scene. Then Jesus asked a few questions, and listened to the man. He made that man feel heard. He didn't "correct" the man or tell him he was wrong to feel as he did. He heard what the man was saying, and compassionately healed the child.

So I'm wondering about the end of the story, that it takes prayer and fasting to heal this kind of situation. And for the first time I'm relating it to the beginning of the story, where Jesus came upon the disciples and the people doing a question-and-answer session. Maybe his ending instruction was an answer to their tactic up front. Don’t stand around arguing with people -- listen to them, pray effectively, and heal them.

This is adding to what I've read in Mary Baker Eddy's works about fasting as "refraining from admitting the claims of the senses," which means to me today not getting too caught up in the appearance of things. So we listen to people to express compassion, not to get mired in their problem but to help them out of it.

That's so Oprah.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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