The Art of Listening

Our lives at the best of times are non-stop. Our day's are filled with back to back meetings, chores, and places to be. We sometimes clumsily fumble through tasks just to finish them, and have conversations with others that lack meaning and substance. In amongst all of the chaos, we fleet in and out of active conscious thinking for a very small portion of our day, and spend most of our time in our sub-conscious mind that drives our habitual, auto-pilot approach to our daily activities.

So where in all of this does one have time to really truly listen to absolutely everything that is said to them from everyone that crosses their path?

The problem that many of us struggle with, is that we will only often hear what people say to us. We don't actually listen. It is here, in this space, that true lines of communication are tangled or lost.

Listening for the most part of it, is what I like to refer to as an art form. It requires one to be consciously and actively engaged in the nothing but that moment. Where the dialogue being exchanged between two people is the only thing in the spotlight. All other thought processes on behalf of the listener should be muted, and shuffled to the side whilst they participate as the recipient of the conversation. In order to reciprocate accordingly and appropriately within the exchange of words, you can not simply hear the words coming out of the other person's mouth. This is ultimately wasting the time of both parties.

The beauty of being human, is that we have been graced with the gift of speech. The ability to communicate with our mouths through spoken words and articulation. And to marry this, we are blessed with our ears to hear. We are given wonderful opportunities every single day of our lives to create insightful, intellectual, humorous, heart-warming, positive conversations with so many people.

How often though do we forfeit these opportunities because we revert almost instantaneously back to our old sub-conscious patterns of just hearing someone because we are bombarded by chaotic noise and activities?

If you're nodding your head in agreement whilst reading this, it's now time for me to share some really good news with you.

Even if you plead guilty to all of the above, know that you too have the power to learn the art of listening. Truth be told, it's actually not a difficult or arduous art form to learn. It requires you to switch on your conscious mind, and simple be present. Be in the moment with the person talking to you. Eliminate, where possible, all forms of distraction - mobile phones, T.V's, radio's etc.

Paraphrasing and summarising are also very important. When you are able to do this after the person you are in dialogue with has finished, it is clearly indicative to them that you have been actively listening, and therefore, have retained what they have been talking to you about. It demonstrates an open willingness to participate in the conversation, and shows your genuine interest in what they are communicating.

Beyond the gracious work of our ears, and their ability to hear, our eyes also play an enormous role in the art of listening. Believe it or not, it's what we are emotionally connected to when the beautiful world of conversation opens up. They say that our eyes are the gateway to our soul. That you can read a thousand words when you look deeply into someone's eyes. It is here, in this space that two people can connect through their emotions, be it through feelings of sympathy or empathy, and enhances the experience of active listening and coherence.

I encourage you now, after having read this, to simply stop hearing the people in your life. Tune in to your conscious mind. Connect with them. Doing this will eventually stop everyone from feeling lonely and disconnected. It will also offer you the opportunity to learn to listen to yourself. You will inevitably learn, and appreciate your own voice. And I don't mean your physical audible voice, but the voice from within. You will discover that silence is golden, and you could quite possibly stop being afraid of those moments when your thoughts are loud. Learning to listen and tune in to them creates moments and opportunities to connect with who you truly are.



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