The Art of Mindful Listening
“The first duty of love is to listen.” ~Paul Tillich
Active listening is a vital skill that should be developed through practice. Most of us do not give our full attention when we are listening but are planning on what to say next or we are judging or evaluating what is being said. It is easy to be pulled into our own thoughts and lose our connection with what is actually being said or conveyed by the person speaking.
Due to all the developments in technology (internet, email, text, cell phones, media, etc.), our minds have become overstimulated. Boredom comes very easily and quickly. Our minds are have become programmed to multitask, leaving us without the ability to give full attention to anything we do. Because of human nature, we also try to control our experiences instead of just letting them flow.
To fully connect with someone, it is important to also observe their body language and to feel the emotions behind the words. If we become distracted by our own thoughts during a conversation, we are missing the subtle signs that convey the true meaning of what is being said. Be present to just listen. Don’t analyze or judge what is being said in order to offer advice but instead listen deeply and indicate that you heard. Or ask questions to take it to an even deeper level.
Following these 3 steps will help you become a more mindful listener and deepen your experiences with others:
- Pause and take a breath before starting a conversation to create space for inner attention and promote a more relaxed state.
- Deepen your attention.
- Listen. Be with the experience. When we listen deeply, we become connected.
As I heard on a Zencast podcast, “allow yourself to be a sacred presence”.
“To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words. You listen not only to the ‘music,’ but to the essence of the person speaking. You listen not only for what someone knows, but for what he or she is. Ears operate at the speed of sound, which is far slower than the speed of light the eyes take in. Generative listening is the art of developing deeper silences in yourself, so you can slow our mind’s hearing to your ears’ natural speed, and hear beneath the words to their meaning.” ~Peter Senge
Active listening is healing for the person speaking. It provides a space to openly share their inner self. Spoken words create ownership of thoughts or feelings, a validation.
Wouldn’t you like to know that when you are speaking, you are being felt on a deeper level? Take the time to concentrate and focus. Go deep, feel what is being said between the words. Be available to life.