What is listening?

We want to be heard, we want our view to be listened to, we want our view to be right, we want others to understand us, we want to be the focus…It’s all about our story, our views, our experiences, our day, our woes and so on.

Amazingly, so does everyone else. Therein lies the challenge…everyone wants to be understood and understood before anyone else. We want to be first, of course, that is what our ego wants. We think listening is for others.

If you stop and observe most human interaction it is a group of talking bodies all trying to be heard, some waiting but only so they can jump in with their point. Then some just plainly not even bothering to hide their disinterest until it’s their turn. All are not actually hearing the other, they are all just thinking ‘how does this affect me’ or thinking what they want to say next. It is a collection of unconscious human minds all driven by their egos talking at each other.

It is no surprise that human communication is often not very good and is painful for most. It isn’t creating more understanding, there is more misinformation, miscommunication and misunderstanding than ever. All in our silos and bubbles of our own opinions never hearing another.

Maybe if we choose to understand the other person first, perhaps listening first, perhaps observing another without the need to label and judge them, without the need to evaluate how it affects us and our story. Maybe we could simply observe without evaluation and simply hear their words and absorb them, not just awaiting to speak.

Listening isn’t thinking time of what to say next or to think about other things. Listening is silently observing and understanding another human soul with no agenda or purpose other than to understand another first. To respect another soul and hear them not through the filters of our mind but to consciously hear them now with our minds clear.

Amazingly, when we listen and truly understand another first, they are more willing to understand us and a connection is made between two or more souls and not a disconnection of fighting and hostile unconscious minds that we mistakingly think is conversation and communication.

Understanding is about empathy and empathy requires listening with no evaluation.

Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf

The human race has entered a stage where no one listens anymore.

We hear but we do not listen. We surround ourselves in a bubble of our own views, an impenetrable echo chamber of hatred and fearmongering against other bubbles. There is no time for listening, instantly dismissing someone before they have even finished their sentence, based on judgements of our mind of what that person represents.

Listening requires pausing from thinking about our own answer, it requires not thinking about how something affects us and it requires not evaluating what the person is saying while they are saying it. It requires empathy, it requires the ability to understand, it requires the ability to actually take in a viewpoint different from our own. It requires a love of all human souls and a realisation that we are all equal no matter what, we are the one-life, the human race.

An indigenous saying from North America sums up listening well – “Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf”.