“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Karl A. Menninger
Do you actually listen? Carefully? Without judgement? Sometimes we are simply too intent upon hearing our own voice and not those of others!
Are we losing our listening abilities? I think so!
Recently I was out with a group of friends and I realised on several occasions on the day, I wasn’t being listened to at all. I was reminded of how little we actually ‘hear’. I spent the afternoon not being heeded.
When I speak I like to think I am being heard. Don’t we all? After all this is called ‘communication’.
I notice all the time that people do not wait until others have finished speaking without adding their own ‘broadcasting or grandstanding’. In fact on five separate occasions on this particular day, I was asked a question and then completely ‘talked over’. At one point I actually said “Are you not interested in what I have to say” and still I wasn’t heard. There was simply no reaction, just a continuation of the conversation.
As I reflect, I realize I used to ‘butt in’ all the time. I think we all do. Our egos get in the way and we want to rule the conversation. But now, I am so acutely aware of the need to listen to others. I wait until someone has finished speaking and I am intent upon looking into their eyes as they do speak. After all, everyone has their story to tell and deserves to be heard. So often these stories expound great wisdom, interesting comment and intelligent perspective. We learn from others, so we need to listen to them. I fail at this sometimes, but I am practicing!
In my yoga classes, I teach with little visual demonstration but with a great amount of auditory guidance. At first students look around and are nervous that they ‘don’t get it’. But within a short time, they learn to be patient with themselves. They learn to listen to my voice, their bodies, their hearts and minds. They learn to enter their inner stillness and realize very quickly the rewards of being ‘silent’. They learn to hear again.
According to Julian Treasure, author of ‘Sound Business’ we are meant to spend roughly 60% of our communication time listening but as he states we are not very good at it. ‘Listening is our access to understanding, he says, conscious listening always creates understanding. But our world has become scary because no one is listening to one another’.
And what is his first lesson to listen better? “Silence” he says, just a few minutes a day. How yogic!
He uses the acronmym ‘RASA’ which in Sanskrit means ‘essence’. RASA stands for ‘Receive’ which means pay attention to the person; APPRECIATE what the person has to say; SUMMARIZE so that you are showing you are paying attention and ASK questions afterwards to show your interest.
I came upon Julian’s talk recently.
It is only 7 minutes long. Sit back and listen….it is fascinating.
‘We need to transform our world into a conscious listening world. ‘A world of connection, a world of understanding and a world of peace’ Julian Treasure.