They say one of the most difficult things to do is to ‘listen’. Most of us do ‘half-hearing’. When listening to the other person, the words come to us through various filters we apply ~ our preconceptions, our particular point of view, our prejudices, our conclusions. Sometimes we have all kinds of thoughts buzzing at the back of our minds; at other times we are waiting impatiently to stop the other person’s flow of words with what we have to say. To listen you have to be quiet…not some mystical quietness but just simple quietness.
Sometimes you do come across such people…people who listen well. To me they seem to radiate with an inner energy. A conversation with them makes you feel funny and valued. You often catch them listening to other people and as they do so their laugh is genuine and their manner infused with a certain humility and gratitude. While listening to you they are not thinking about what wonderful work they have done or are doing. In fact, they are not thinking about themselves at all. They are just infused with a generosity of spirit that warms and brightens the day for those who come in contact with them. Some years ago i realised i too wanted to be like such a person ~ a true listener, not a half-hearer. Not an easy task i soon discovered but with some conscious effort it can be done.
Meanwhile i have JK’s words for inspiration…
“Listening is an art not easily come by, but in it there is great beauty and great understanding. To listen there must be an inward quietness, a freedom from the strain of acquiring, a relaxed attention. This alert yet passive state is able to hear what is beyond the verbal conclusion. Words confuse, they are only the outward means of communication; but to commune beyond the noise of words, there must be in listening an alert passivity. It is extremely rare to find a listener. Most of us are after results, achieving goals, we are forever overcoming and conquering, and so there is no listening. It is only in listening that one hears the song of words.”