One of the challenges many of us face in communication is being present while listening to someone else. Between our minds wandering off or getting ready to respond, we forget to be completely present and listen with our hearts engaged.
Listening to others
Deep listening is important for many reasons: It allows us to develop a deeper relationship, make the sharer feel heard and valued, connect to our own heart and expand our ability to love, connect and care. It is also a practice in mindfulness and concentration.
Listening to people empathically creates a deep trust between you and them. As a listener, you are implying that what the other person is sharing is important. You are creating a sacred space and establishing trust. Some of the ‘How To’ books and other materials out there tell us how we should act when we communicate with others. We are encouraged to act positive and behave a certain way. At times these instructions can become mechanical and superficial. When we listen to someone from heart, we are connecting from an authentic place rather than following guidelines and rules on how we should behave. These ‘How To’ materials can be helpful as long as we stay authentically engaged in our interactions.
Have you ever had a discussion with someone over a topic where you thought you had the right idea and wanted to convince the other person? This is a common behavior for many of us; however, we have the option to create another approach. Instead of proving our points or waiting for our turn, we can practice to be present and listen to the sharer with our full attention. You can test this for yourself. Try to listen with empathy and care the next time you’re in a conversation with someone. Instead of waiting for your turn or trying to prove your point, make the other person feel heard. Check with them if you understood them correctly and ask them any questions you may have without focusing on your agenda. Do you feel a shift in your energy? How is it different from your typical conversations? Write down your experience. Make a conscious effort to watch your patterns. Get in the habit of journaling your experiences and analyze your progress regularly.
Listening to ourselves
Judgments and false beliefs vanish when we engage our heart while listening to someone. The energy flows between the listener and the sharer. We can apply the same principle to ourselves. Many times we beat ourselves up for things that have nothing to do with us, but our judgments about ourselves create an energy that controls the thoughts we create and hear. The internal chatter causes static and the voice of our higher conscious mind cannot be heard. We can internalize this practice and by quieting our mind and staying present in the NOW, we can listen to the voice and guidance of our higher consciousness.
I believe we can promote peace and harmony on earth by practicing heart-centered listening. We can prevent wars if we connect to our hearts when communicating with each other. From deeper and more loving relationships in families to nations, deep heartfelt listening can heal deep wounds and restore peace and love.