A heavy weight hangs in my chest.
I feel suffocated under the weight of my own unfelt and unexpressed emotions.
How often have you felt this way?
How often have you woken up feeling like you don’t want to leave bed – instead, you just want to crawl into a dark hole and never come out?
How often have you carried dark, intense, dull, or draining feelings around not just for days, but for WEEKS? Perhaps even months or years.
If this is you, I get it.
I’ve been there, and I still go there.
In fact, I’m there today. But I have something to share with you that has helped me tremendously:
The power of deep listening.
Table of contents
What is Deep Listening?
Deep listening is the practice of turning toward your feelings and emotions.
Most of us have the tendency to run away from anything uncomfortable within us. It’s only natural.
But numbing, avoiding, and rejecting our pain only makes what we feel larger and ‘scarier’ than it truly is.
When we turn toward our pain with curiosity and gentleness, we often find an immediate sense of relief.
Deep listening isn’t just a new fad – it’s an ancient practice that can be found in many old cultures, such as the Australian Indigenous peoples (known as Dadirri).
Why Undigested Emotions Are Your Worst Enemy
You need to digest your emotions.
Yes, you heard me.
Emotions aren’t rubbish – they’re not meant to be stuffed away within the trashcan of your psyche. They’re made to be felt.
The word ‘emotion’ itself comes from the 16th century, tracing its roots back to the French word émouvoir which means ‘excite, stir up.’
More recently, emotion has been explained as e-motion, or energy in motion.
Letting this energy move throughout us is the most natural and organic process. But thanks to our cultural, religious, and often familial conditioning, we’re taught otherwise.
Depending on what cultural context we’re from, we’re taught that “being angry” is bad and dangerous.
Crying is looked down upon as “weak” or “melodramatic.”
Even expressing joy or intense excitement is seen as “being attention seeking” or “inappropriate.”
But as our favorite psychologist/sage Carl Jung writes,
What you resist, persists.
That stuffed away anger isn’t going anywhere. That buried grief doesn’t just disappear.
It remains undigested within your psyche, within your unconscious. Within your body.
It forms part of your shadow self and intensifies your soul loss.
How to Practice the Art of Deep Listening
I’m convinced that at the root of most anxiety and depression is undigested emotion.
People are either weighed down by this energy (as in depression) or are hyperstimulated by it (as in anxiety). Sometimes, we experience both unfortunate scenarios.
But what I have found over and over again – in the personal stories of others, in public talks, in juicy books, in other’s blog posts, in my own direct experience – is that you need to practice one thing:
And it’s an intensely spiritual practice.
It’s also at the root of inner work.
Here’s how you can bring this practice into your life:
1. Heart-gut centering
According to science, we have three brains: the head, heart, and gut.
We have a lot of experience using our head – but we tend to neglect the heart and gut.
Like disembodied heads, we float throughout our days barely aware of our inner landscape. Who can blame us? We’re conditioned to be that way.
But the simple practice of placing one hand over your heart, and the other over your stomach, can change everything.
So please, try this.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by unmetabolized emotions, go somewhere quiet. Place a hand over your heart and gut, and be still.
Tune into yourself.
This is the essence of deep listening.
When I do this practice, emotions often rush to the surface. Tears can sometimes well up. Resurrected anger can begin to burn volcanically.
In short: the energy buried inside becomes alive again.
This is a good thing.
By placing a gentle hand over your heart and gut, you’re awakening the intelligence and wisdom inherent in there. Your only job is to be quiet, open, and receptive.
And remember, if at any point this Heart-Gut Centering practice gets too intense, you can stop. Do something else. Drink a cup of water, eat, and ground yourself.
2. What can you hear right now, down to the minutest detail?
Asking the simple question “What can I hear right now, down to the minutest detail?” is a simple doorway into deep listening.
Try it for a moment.
Stop reading, close your eyes (or look away), and notice every sound emerging in this present space.
What can you pick up on?
Perhaps there’s a rush of cars in the distance. Maybe a bird is singing, a cricket is chirping, and a refrigerator is humming. You might even notice the sound of your own breathing.
This deep listening practice is actually a form of mindfulness meditation.
By deeply listening to every sound around you, you’re expanding your field of awareness. Instead of remaining contracted, you’ll feel expanded, refreshed, and renewed!
The beauty is that not only can you practice this in any moment, but you can also pair it with the previous technique. (Those two done together are pure magic!)
3. Stream of consciousness writing
A more active form of deep listening can be experienced through stream of consciousness writing.
Writing releases creative energy and helps to create mental clarity. If you’re anxious, depressed, or otherwise burdened by a lot in life, writing is your best friend.
If you’re lonely and have no one to turn to, write it all down.
In fact, writing (or journaling) helped me hold onto my sanity through periods of existential crisis and when I was going through the dark night of the soul. I still do it regularly to this very day!
To begin your stream of consciousness writing:
i – get a piece of paper. You can also use a note-taking app on your phone or laptop. But I recommend using a physical pen and paper – it makes the experience feel more tangible and real.
ii – Next, set a timer for ten minutes, then begin. Don’t stop writing until the timer goes off.
Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation.
Don’t edit, delete, or judge your writing.
Just spill it all out – even if it sounds like total trash or nonsense.
Remember, the point of this practice is to engage in an active form of deep listening. In other words, you’re tuning into and expressing the contents of your inner world.
iii – Once you’re finished, read over what you’ve written – this too is deep listening. You’re listening for the truth of how you feel.
Many people are shocked and surprised by this simple practice. It’s not uncommon to have sudden epiphanies or to feel miraculously unburdened from your unspoken pain.
But even if the practice isn’t immediately phenomenal, stick with it!
Just the act of tuning in and churning out already gets the stifled energy within you moving. And through repetition, this deep listening practice can alchemize some deep growth, self-awareness, and transformation.
I am large, I contain multitudes.– Walt Whitman
As humans, we are one part animal, one part divinity.
We’re not automatons. We can’t live our lives burying away the truth of what lives within us. Repression and avoidance only equal stagnation and illness.
As Whitman writes, we contain multitudes.
There is so much within us that wants to be seen and felt – and this is part of the human experience.
Each one of us is like a galaxy, with numerous shimmering planets, stars, and solar systems that are ever-expanding.
But to suppress how we feel – to be “too busy,” or even just to be innocently unaware of our inner reality – is like walking around carrying a dead galaxy within us.
And when there are no stars, no planets, nothing … what is left?
Blackness. A black hole. A void.
To practice deep listening is to reawaken the galaxy and constellation of our inner being.
Yes, sure, it might be uncomfortable at first.
But soon we feel more connected, more alive, and more ensouled.
All we need to do is to remember to turn toward rather than away from that which simply wants to be felt within us.
How do you practice deep listening? If this article has inspired any feelings or thoughts within you, I’d love to hear them below!
For me, deep listening happens about half an hour after waking at approx 3 am. After the soggy dull grogginess of sleep has changed into some activity ( after the first glass of water and coffee of the day), strange thoughts are triggered and contradictory messages no longer appear and disappear from my inner view in the normal sense, but begin to spin in a whirl. As I do not wish to deal with them at this time of day, or cannot face them. As body stiffness, skin itches, sounds, hot spots, cold feet, night sounds outside, or just body position, ego visual crap, or last night TV jingle emerges to grind away, overlapping with questions of can I never find inner peace?? Can I not be on the road of meditative deep bliss, or at least manifest some sense of why this whirl is happening to only me! This builds the volume of surface anxiety, till it feels like my only reason for trying to sit quietly was to spin on inner garbage and hope that the warmth of the dressing gown and the comfort of the rocker recliner will suffice sufficiently to calm the savage beast and allow… Read more »
Thank you Luna – for yet another thought provoking, emotional tuning – blog on empathetic listening to self-expression. Journaling has helped me reveal subconscious patterns, and so has dialoguing with the self as a mere observer. While syncing our gut to our heart, we reclaim our sense of power by activating the throat to express freely. Thus the throat is an active agent of the process of deeper engagements with self expression. Thanks again
I really like my own journaling – but it is a bit different from “Stream of consciousness writing” – Because it has a specific structure (but to be honest it also can easy create a space for “Stream of consciousness writing” It is based on coaching “G.R.O.W” model questions I trook all of them from here: performanceconsultants.com/grow-model and I use them sometimes for my own pleasure !!! :))) Here they are: Goal • What do you want? • What is the aim for this discussion? • How would you like it to be? • What does that look like? • What will you be saying to yourself? • What will that enable you to do? • What will other people be saying to you? • What will you have that you don’t have now? • Imagine 3 months from now, all obstacles are removed and you have achieved this: What do you see/hear/feel? • What new elements are in place? • What is different? Reality • What is happening at the moment? • How important is this to you? • On a scale of 1–10, if an ideal situation is 10, what number are you at now? • What number… Read more »
Your articles just get better and better in their depth but also in the grace-filled way they are written. Thank you.
This came to me at a time when I’m going through deep suffering, but also what I hope is deep transformation. Thank you from the bottom of my being – it’s not only helpful, but good to know I’m not alone. Sending love!
Dear Luna Y Sol,
You have shared my path since the beginning of the pandemic and you have been so in tune, so synchronistic, your support has often been and still is my deepest well of support. I thank you so much for your wisdom, insight, and steadfast presence in my life. I have gone through the tunnel of pandemic home alone and jobless, but my present challenge is that the new job turns out to be yet another gamble with the abyss. I do struggle to keep a clear head about my direction and am using all the spiritual tools that you guys are so good at, but this is like the third ghost in Dickens’ Scrooge – even down to the birth date of my new boss. I know this is the latest challenge and am hoping that I will finally burn the last of that karma, but oh boy it is quite something … My beloved Lone Wolves, your wisdom keeps me afloat … Keep up the good work my blessed Angels ….
Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable wisdom, Aletheia. I too find myself in ‘that place’ again. From one warrior woman to another – I hear you, I see you and I feel you. I’m very grateful for you and Sol; for all that you are and all that you do. Many blessings from the U.K.
The awakening to 5D gets much “tougher” the closer we get.
This is AWESOME. Thank you. So many people try and advise for emotions to be suppressed, despite them being such a natural thing! This guide on how to find safe ways to release emotions eas just such a beautiful read. I really like lonerwolf. Personally, I write once I need a release and it works like a charm!
Thank you, in a profound act of synchronicity, I find that whenever I receive something from.you in my inbox, it’s the universe giving me a gift for exactly what I need in that moment. This article, and your admission that you’re going through this exact feeling right now felt like a blessing.