Our inability to be fully present and to listen with attention is at the heart of our breakdown in communication and often the resultant breakdown in our relationships too.
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Robert McCloskey
The ‘art’ of listening is to get to ‘the heart of the matter’.
Do not just hear the words, but understand the fears and the filters that the words are spoken through. A good listener will mostly not say anything at all, besides the appropriate acknowledgements. He simply becomes a catalyst for the speaker to discover his own solutions to the problems or situations he is facing. The listener’s attitude of open acceptance unlocks the creativity and wisdom of the speaker to find his own solutions.
Listening becomes an art when the listener is able to keep a balance between empathetic interest and remaining a detached observer. His heart is present, but not engrossed. His mind remains light and free from judgement or the temptation to try and fix ‘the problem’. This is what is termed ‘soul consciousnesses’.
Whilst listening to someone who was in a very emotional state, I looked past the physical body and shifted my attention to the soul in front of me, seeing her as pure and beautiful spiritual being. A feeling of true love, soul love, washed over me, as I continued to listen. After a few moments, she stopped speaking and said ‘I feel better now – quite calm’. She has never again been in that state of sorrow.
Experiment with this whenever you are listening to someone…..be present, not just physically, but mentally and be interested in the person, not just the words spoken. Check that you are not wearing your ‘fix it’ hat, in other words, that the ego is out of the picture, and then connect to your inner self, your inner wisdom. From this starting point, see how your art of listening naturally emerges…..clean and uncluttered, ready to be of real help.
Meditation is also one of the most effective methods to access your natural spiritual wisdom. Take a pause right now…..stop everything for just a moment and allow yourself to be fully present and connected to your inner world…..your thoughts, your feelings, your heart…..be still internally……this is meditation. We can develop inner silence simply by creating our own spiritual thoughts. This silence enables us to have insights and realisations that perhaps we would not normally have.