Story Listening Part – The magic of metaphors
Lesson 11 Module 2
The Magic of metaphors
"People will say stuff that they are not aware that they are saying. If you are really listening you will hear some of the language." Simon Bowen
The stories we tell contain a hidden message. When a person speaks they use metaphors and repeat words and phrases that reveal what is currently concerning them. The skills of Story Listening teaches you how to 'hear' the underlying message and feed your observation back to the speaker in a way that gives them clarity and helps them make an informed decision.
Stories, Campfires and Histroy Belong Together
Have you ever been sitting around a campfire sharing stories? This is how knowledge was passed down through the generations for hundreds of thousands of ears.
We all love to tell stories.
But the stories we tell have two layers. The top layer is the words we hear and the body language we observe.
The second layer is less evident because it is the speaker's unconscious mind speaking.
A mindful Listener who has learned the skill of Story Listening can listen to the unconscious message concealed inside the story.
Our unconscious mind reveals problematic issues to protect us.
When I first learned this skill, I was gobsmacked at how much we do reveal in our stories.
As you tell a story, you will repeat certain words, phrases and use metaphors that have a similar theme.
A metaphor is a figure of speech containing an implied comparison.
The metaphor can be a place, an item, an object, a person or persons.
She bottles it up inside
I wear my heart on my sleeve
It will collapse like a house of cards
It's raining cats and dogs
She has a heart of gold
Throw the baby out with the bathwater
Love is a battlefield
Am I talking to a brick wall?
Metaphors represent something deep in the life of the storyteller. The themes of the metaphors and the repeated words and phrases a person uses are like a window into their unconscious mind.
The metaphor is not created intentionally. Instead, your unconscious mind creates a metaphor and sends it to consciousness.
The metaphor is almost always the person telling the story.
Information from the unconscious is presented to consciousness in symbolic form.
Most of the time, the storyteller is unaware of the deeper meaning of the symbolic language.
They need your help to bring the meaning into focus, into their conscious awareness.
The mindful listener listens for these repeated metaphors, words and phrases using their extra brainpower constructively.
It is only when someone responds to the speaker,s hidden message that they can hope to deal with the issue. If people do not give us this feedback, the problem remains in the unconscious dictating our emotions and behaviour.
But, if someone performs a story-check, then the meaning can breakthrough into the speaker's conscious mind triggering a profound experience. This moment of deep understanding is often referred to as the moment of aha.
To listen mindfully is to give the gift of meaning to another.
The unconscious brain uses symbolic language to float an issue closer to the surface, so it sits on the cusp of the person's conscious awareness. The listener's job is to help the person bring it into focus so they can make an informed decision.
The mindful listener does this by feeding their assumption back to the speaker by performing a story check.
The story check brings the issue into startling clarity giving the speaker the ability to process the information and deal with the matter.
Remember - you can only ever guess. You may never know what the issue is and you don't need to.
A story-check is a soft, gentle non-invasive question.
I describe the structure of a Story-Check in the Mindful Communication Course.
Fill in the form below and join me in a webinar where I teach the skill of Story Listening.
In the next video, we talk about the 5 levels of stories, so I'll see you soon.
It is through symbols that man consciously or unconsciously lives, works and has his being. Thomas Carlyle
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John Savage's book
Listening & Caring Skills goes well beyond "active listening" to encouraging and actually hearing the other person's story ... This book revolutionized the way I listen. John Madvig
I was fortunate enough to attend one of John's courses where these skills were presented. It was a life changing experience for me.
When John published this book I purchase 4 copies. One for my wife and I and 3 for my children.
This book is a wonderful how-to guide to in-depth listening. To get the most out of the book I believe that it is best to read and discussed in a group setting. At a minimum, at least two people should read each skill, discuss it and then practice the skill on one another.
This book is my reference and I use it regularly to refresh my skills.
Where you can get a copy.