Because I have had a cold I haven’t felt much like talking. I love talking so it’s been a strangely silent week for me. In this silence though I have learnt to listen a bit better.
I found out some great things this week like, where to take my he/she chicken to live out his/her days, where I can buy organic veges cheaply, that my daughter is really trying to help a friend, that my partner feels stress in certain way, that my son is planning something that I can’t understand on mine craft.
It seems when you radiate the energy of really listening people open up to you and the stuff you learn is really useful good stuff that you can take out into the world and reflect upon.
You focus on the person with your ears and eyes.Listening is different to focusing. Your eyes can glaze over but you can still be listening. People quickly sense when your body is there but not your spirit.
You take time. A really good in-depth conversation requires time. We often rush through conversations as a way to fill space between our next important to do item.
You don’t actually talk much either. Although it is tempting to use people’s conversation as a springboard for what you want to say if you are thinking about what you want to say then your are not listening to that person. (That’s me)
You try to understand what is being said in a deeper way. People use words to express what they feel but they might not quite explain it that well so you may miss the point of the conversation. Using phrases such as ‘do you mean’ or ‘how does that make you feel’ or ‘what do you think you will do about that’ will encourage people to find the words they need.
If you are a really good listener then people will eventually get out what it is that they need to. I have had some brilliant conversations where I have said two to three words and people tell me I’m great to talk to. I’ve had conversations which have been not so good because I’m rushing to give advice or help where it is not really what is needed at that point.
Practice for today: Who can you really listen to today? Just like a great yoga class, give them the time and the space with a little philosophy to help them be a true expression of themselves to you.
“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich (1886-1965);