Giraffe Ears – Being Fully Present with the Heart

Giraffe Ears - Being Fully Present with the Heart

Words are windows or they’re walls

In addition to honesty, the language of giraffe requires one of the greatest technological inventions that I know of. I can’t tell you how valuable this invention has been in my life.

Giraffe ears.

These ears are extraordinary, because these ears give you the power to empathize with other people. Empathy to me is a very special quality of understanding.

It’s not an understanding of the head.
It’s an understanding of the heart.
It’s a ‘being with another human being’.

This does not mean that I have to agree with them.
It does not mean I have to like what they say.
It simply means that I give them one of the greatest gifts one human being can give to another. Presence. Presence – our full presence.

Martin Buber, the Israeli psychologist and philosopher, in his works ‘I – Thou’ talks about the magic of dialogue, the power of dialogue. But how it requires this capacity of empathy. Which in Buber’s poetic words requires that we greet each moment like a newborn infant, that’s never been before, will never be again.

We just see the human being in front of us.
The feelings and needs in them at this moment.
They’ve never been before, will never come again.

This is a holy moment – to see the divinity in the other person.

So these ears are extraordinarily valuable and powerful.

Ruth was with me one day when I was trying to mediate a conflict between two waring groups. These happened to be women in religious life. They had had a conflict for 15 months, that they couldn’t solve. Because their words were getting in the way. They were speaking wolf to one another.

And no one had giraffe ears.
So they were hearing criticism.

With these ears you never hear criticism.
With these ears you are conscious that criticism is simply an expression of pain by the other side.
It just simply says the other side has needs that aren’t getting met.

If you hear the criticism, you haven’t heard this person.
If you hear attack, you haven’t heard.

But they didn’t know how to use the ears yet. So the first couple of days it was very painful to watch these people, who really cared very much for each other, but using words that act as WALLS, that block them off from each other.

Finally, after about three days, I was able to get them to see how to use this wonderful technology: how – no matter what the other person was saying – to use the words as a WINDOW.

With this we see words as a window to the soul, to see inside the other person.

And Ruth went up to her room that night, very touched by seeing the power of what happens, when people – no matter how divided – finally learn how to connect with empathy.