Deep listening

Typically, I lead my clients through exercises, guide them through becoming exquisite listeners for themselves & do energy work with them.

One fall afternoon, my client needed to talk. They were pouring their heart out, being as raw and honest as could be, so instead of trying to guide the session back to my usual toolkit, I sat and engaged in what I call “Deep listening”.

You might guess that this is something similar to “active listening”, where I devote 100% of my attention to them, ask questions to show I’m listening, request clarification when I’m not clear, reflect back what I’m hearing, summarize…

These active listening tools are great skills and are definitely important, but deep listening is actually NOT that.


Deep Listening is not the same as Active Listening


Rather, I didn’t devote 100% of my attention to them. Instead, I anchored a firm 40% of my attention in myself. Like in a meditation, I’d notice the thoughts that would pop up, the emotions that would move through me in reaction, the impulses I had to jump in to make sure I understand the content of what they were saying, … all of it… without diving into, analyzing or reacting to any of it.

I dropped any agenda of the session going a certain way. I let go of formulating a response that would allow me to appear smart, wise & helpful (or even that would help them have some kind of realization). Whenever I noticed the impulse to do one of these things, I would return fully to my listening.

Staying anchored like this, I was able to stay entirely present with my client. In fact, devoting 40% of my attention to monitoring my own inner process and not allowing myself to become reactive in any way, it freed up the other 60% of my attention to be entirely for my client without my own process getting in the way. I was able to fully listen to the content of what they were saying, but also become finely attuned to their tone, the emotion in their voice, their body language and even the way their energy was moving as they were talking. As I listened in this way, I allowed myself to become aware of our common humanity – how we all suffer, how we all have so much brilliance and wisdom – and let myself lean into compassion, without falling into sympathy or worse pity.


a space of non-judgment, compassion & empowerment gets created through deep listening.


In the space in between us, this created an energy field of non-judgment, compassion and belief in a capacity to let life guide & provide the answers that are needed.

I was so deeply “deep listening” that when they asked what I thought or if I had any advice, my very genuine answer was “I don’t know”.

They paused a moment, had a half-smile and said:

“Oh. I’ve never had someone listen like that before. It feels like that’s the love I’ve never had”.

For that moment, that day, the permission to be was as healing & powerful as any process or any intuitive hit could’ve been.

Being heard & seen, without someone trying to help us or fix us or do anything with us can certainly feel like love. We feel accepted JUST AS WE ARE.

By deeply listening we can give someone that gift: the gift of permission to feel what they feel, think what they think, be who they are.

… but it’s only fair you know …

it doesn’t always end in someone saying : “This feels like love”. On the way in (which is what inevitably what happens when someone deeply listens to you), being listened to this deeply can feel excruciatingly vulnerable, scary, uncomfortable. When someone listens to you this way, there’s no hiding, no pretending and the deeper truth inevitably bubbles to the surface.

Tears may show up, emotions may move their way through and your listenee may realize something they hadn’t been ready to realize until then.


Hold the space with love. Try not to save them from their truth. They’re far more resilient, strong and wise than they may have ever given themselves credit for. Believe in them.

… continued below…

want to get amazing at this?

Deep Listening is part of the Energy Healing Toolkit program. You’ll learn how to do this for yourself & your clients.


  1. Keep around 40% of your awareness inside yourself noticing your thoughts, emotions, sensations and (most importantly) your impulses to react rise and pass away. (Bringing 100% of your attention to the other can be appealing to do to “get lost”in the other and temporarily forget yourself. This is not holding space).
  2.  Drop your agenda, your judgments, your own needs, your advice even your sympathy.
    Drop your facial expressions. (This allows for the person to find their OWN reactions rather than tailoring their story to your reactions).
  3. Cultivate the belief that they’re an empowered, intelligent, wise being capable of moving through these difficulties.
  4. Cultivate your compassion (but not your sympathy or pity).
  5. Listen to words, but mostly to beyond the words: the tone of voice, the body language, the emotions, the energy moving. Meet it all with a compassionate awareness.

That’s it. Trust that within this extra space you create together with the other, the other can find their truth & self-love.

When to use deep listening:

 Finally, a note about the context in which you may want to engage in this type of “deep listening”.

If you do energy work, you’re already doing this kind of listening while you’re performing the energy work. You can extend it to the period before you move to the table or when you debrief after.

In every day life, I’ve found this most helpful for people that are HARD to listen to. Simply settling in, relax and let them talk. Listen to what’s underneath their words. Often people like this are talking because they’re afraid of silence or because they desperately are looking for love or connection.

With someone you love, you might try this and when they finish talking you can ask for more “Tell me more”. This is an easy way to encourage people to go deeper and figure themselves out. Again and again and again: “Tell me more”. It sounds repetitive, but it does allow people to go down the stairs of their consciousness and get to the root of what’s there.

want to get amazing at this?

Deep Listening is part of the Energy Healing Toolkit program. You’ll learn how to do this for yourself & your clients.