Art of Love
We’ve started listening to the online series Art of Love 2011 and highly recommend our email readers follow along while it’s still happening.
A segment that really caught our attention was in the Kick-off Webinar, where the presenters speak with Deepak Chopra on his three important “A”s of relationships. We share these here as they’re all ones that arise as issues in our practice.
Attention means deep listening, being totally present, having empathy, trying to see from our partner’s perspective. It means we’re not in a hurry to give advice and react; not in a hurry to interrupt. Our body language actually shows we are deeply listening.
Chopra reports that, according to neuroscientists, when we practice deep listening the amygdala of the person speaking and the hippocampus of the listener start to “cool down” (show less activity).
The amygdala is the place in the brain where we process fear and anxiety. So we’re actually cooling down those primitive parts of the speaker’s brain just by listening attentively to them. We’re changing not only their brain activity but the actual structure of the brain, which depends on proteins being laid down and that requires gene modulation. We’re influencing the on-off switches of another person’s genes in their neurons by deep listening.
- See also: The Subtle Power of Reflective Listening
Appreciating our partner has a direct effect on their health and well-being. Recent interesting data from Gallop shows the following statistics:
- If a manager criticises his or her subordinates then disengagement grows to 25% and people who work for that manager get sick
- If the manager ignores them, disengagement grows to 45%
- But if a manager notices a single strength and appreciates that strength, disengagement falls to less than 1% and people stay healthy.
(Aside from the disastrous effects on the couple relationship, which is our focus here, economically this is said to cost $280 billion to the U.S. economy.)
- See also: Seeing through to the Needs of the Other
Affection is deep caring and knowing that we are there for the other person.
In the language of neuroplasticity, we can say this kind of engagement in relationship rewires the brain in a direction where love actually becomes a healing force. It influences hormones, cell repair, homeostasis (biological self-regulation and self-repair).
Love Is a Powerful Healing
So it turns out that love is the most powerful healing that can happen. And this is so through a phenomenon called limbic resonance. When people are in love their brains are resonating, their hormones are resonating and they are healing each other and monitoring each other’s biology and moving each other in the direction of healing.
- See also: Attack/Defense versus Mutual Exchange