The Art of Listening

– Hey!

– Hey, you there!!

– Listen to what I have to say!!

– It is important!!

– Hey!!

– I need to say it!!

– Is it my turn to speak now??Talking

      We don’t go around yelling those lines when we want to say something, but oftentimes while listening to others we are simply preparing the next thing we are going to tell them, to answer to what they’re saying. Or not, sometimes we are just waiting for a silence from the speaker to start-off on something we really wanted to tell someone, regardless of what the other person was talking about. And this is good. Sharing, expressing ourselves, speaking up, those are all vital keys to a healthy presence to ourselves. Yet, that is sometimes that is also missing when we only try to get it out, the presence to what the other is saying. We listen to what they say, already thinking of a reply, and when that happens in arguments, no one changes their mind because no one is open to receiving the opinion of the other. Our words bounce of a wall, sent out to the universe, never finding a landing place. This is also true for our emotions, when we share how we feel to someone that has their attention focused elsewhere. Even if it’s their own thoughts, and they seem to be listening to us, not being heard hurts. We can feel when it happens. Being heard is a need that we have, to acknowledge who we are, to make us feel like we matter.

Thus, one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to others is listening to them. Simply. Truly. Not giving them advice, or consoling them if we feel that’s what they need, simple listening. Presence works magic.

It is not an easy feat though. It requires calm and focus, and an ability to discriminate what happens within ourselves, and feel what matters most in a given moment. We need to be present to ourselves. To listen to ourselves first, to be able to listen to others. The way to achieve this is to observe what happens within us while someone else talks.

What thoughts do I hold? How do I feel physically? What emotional state do I find myself in? What do I want?

They are an excellent place to start when we are trying to figure out what we are deeply trying to tell ourselves. The secret is, our body speaks loudly about ourselves, to ourselves, but are we listening to it?

Also, once we are aware of those points, they are easier to let go, and so true listening can happen.

I have just introduced a variety of ideas which are worthy being looked at separately, so there goes;

The Desire to be Heard: It all start there. All our experiences start first and foremost within our own subjective perception, and through that, we experience the world. We feel emotions, we have thoughts and ideas, we want to sing. All those activities are fun in themselves, yet they feel even more real when we can share them with others. Therefore, we all have an innate desire to be heard.

Listening to ourselves: Since we are the only person who will be with us through our whole lives, a good place to start to become a better listener is to listen to ourselves. There are causes behind the thoughts we hold, behind the feelings we feels. But before even getting there, we need to know what we feel, how our bodies react, what that little voice inside is trying to tell us. So take the time (maybe even now) to close your eyes and tune into your body. To feel what is happening inside. To be present to yourself. Without judgement, just to bring awareness. Accepting ourselves as we are unconditionally is a wonderful liberation we all deserve. Give yourself that gift. The truth is, no one else has to know, so why not give it a shot?

Listening to others: Listening to others is very similar to listening to ourselves. The only difference is that we are tuning into the other person. We press mute on our thoughts, on our ideas, and we only listening to what they say and how they feel. Yes, how they feel is a key in listening fully, since a majority of the information being communicated by someone who is talking to us, is done through their bodies. Thus, it is important to listen to how our own bodies react, since we tend to mirror the feelings of those around us. The words being carried by the wind are the surface of the wave, the feelings that are transmitted bring the depth with them. Only when listening to the feelings, can we fully grasp what the other person wants us to hear.

Feelings: I have been using that term quite a bit, and for clarification, I mean both physical and emotional feelings. When we are able to differentiate between our own feelings, and the ones we mirror from the other, then we can truly listen to them, without unconsciously answering to our own needs first.

Boundaries: We are in control of where we give our attention. Thus, keeping an open mind and taking in what the others say is amazing and wonderful, but we have no obligations to accept everything they say as truth. We are allowed to have our own opinions, to make our own choices, and to believe in our own truths. We have to listen to ourselves first. And while it may be considered rude to leave or redirect a conversation that we find boring, it is perfectly within our powers to do so. We are the only ones in control of our attention, nothing is owed to others. Freely given attention is far more nourishing.

      The topics of communication and listening are immensely vast, and so this remains but a small scratch on the surface. Though it is a most useful starting point in creating exchanges that are more nourishing for all parties, satisfying the deep desires we all have in a simple way. The best way to become better at this is practice, and that you can do by yourself, and anytime you interact with someone, regardless of how intimate or not you are with them.

On this note, I shall leave you to practice.

Have fun ~*~

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