We often hear about ‘the art of listening’ … but is listening an art?
Real listening … listening from the heart may well be an art… For embedded in the heart is the art and the ear … I am so often astounded by the magic and luminosity of words!
Do you listen with the heart?
Listen with the heart and hence engage in the art of listening.
Have you noticed how there is an earnestness to our conversations? We are scrambling to keep up. Our conversations are running. Our pace is fast.
There are drumming conversations on the street, there is a pressure to convey things, to upload ideas, and to export the sound of our own voices, a pressure that increases apace. We desire to be heard yet we are too tired to listen. The desire to express ourselves is stronger than our morning coffee. Our adrenaline is in a constant state of rush.
How many of us know when we are genuinely heard … conversations on the phone with friends or clients … in the silence … they may say, ”Are you listening…?” As though in that space of silence one would be doing anything else but listening. This happens so often to me… and I am listening.
Real listening is Healing
… I once had a client who said “I don’t think I need to see you… I feel so much better just feeling heard …”
Allow questions to fulfil their intended role.
When you ask a question, be silent and listen. We are sometimes so quick to jump in and answer to demonstrate how much we know, and how smart we are. We seem to be afraid that if we do not answer immediately, then we may be seen as not being ‘good enough’. Taking a moment before answering, however, shows another aspect of your character—it demonstrates you are contemplative, considered, and non-reactive. It shows you have a quiet confidence, secure within yourself and your genuineness. It also shows you have a desire to answer truthfully, not rehashing some prescribed and rehearsed answer. It shows you are comfortable with silence.
Thought for the day: listen and be silent
Have you noticed how the letters in listen and silent are the same, just in a different order?
There is so much conveyed in the silence—in the spaces between the words. But just like a light breeze that touches our skin, the invitation to listen is a delicate moment which all too quickly disappears. Listening requires us to pay attention—to understand that what the person is saying is important, if not to you then at least to them. Listening requires us to put aside distractions—not allowing your focus to veer away, pulled by a beep from your phone, the beat from some music, or a whirr of a laptop, a news bulletin on the TV, or any other gizmo you may have around.
Listening requires us to be aware that that moment is precious—that you, your actions, and your attention matter.
Listening requires us to be silent, just be, just listen. When was the last time someone listened to you in this way? How did it make you feel? Are you now prepared to listen to someone in this very different way?