Then there was a sudden hush, followed by an immediate outburst. My little one, all of five and three-quaters, jumps at my throat, “I hate you, you didn’t hear anything I said.” I shut my facebook page and wonder, Deja vu – again? Only this time the accusation is more pronounced. Time to wake up and listen to the rumbling.
In the synchronous world that we live in, the answers seem to come when the desire to change is sincere. Over next few days, everything I heard was about Listening. In a talk I was listening to, my dear friend and spiritual teacher, Nithya Shanthi, told this little story.
Someone asked Mother Teresa if she talked to God when she prayed. She replied, “I don’t talk, I listen.”
“So, then does God talk to you?”
She replied, “No, He listens too.”
LISTEN is simply an anagram of the word SILENT. To listen then, we need to silence the talk inside our head, the absent-minded multi-plexing we are engaged in.
Next, as I listen further, I get this great video on concious listenting from TED (how I love TED!)
Intention comes first. You cannot listen if you don’t want to. So, shut off those sounds bits that bite you. And listen to those you love.
Here is a list of challenges I wrote for myself to increase concious listening. (The “you” below is me… i am listening to me.)
- STOP all activities when someone is talking. Look up and if possible directly at him/her. If it is a child, get closer. Get away from distractions. And the new law is “No texting while listening.”
- Hear all the words, without forming a reply. Use that time to feel the words. Is this person sad, mad, glad, or perhaps confused? This will change the outcome of the hearing or the ensuing conversation.
- Resist giving advice, unless it is asked. That would include sentences which contain “must/should/should not”
- Instead, ask(don’t give), “What do you think would work for you?” “So, you are looking for…” This helps the person rethink or reframe their thoughts.
- Surprise yourself and the other by starting/ending the reply with the other’s name or a slurpy nickname. “So, Buddy-licious(ok, something better than that), you want to…”
- If you have done any one of the above, at this point, you realize that you have dropped any notion of criticism (that’s the whole point of using “sweetie-pie” in the conversation).
- At this point, check if you have established enough trust.
- Ok, let the universe take over. See how the other person responds, changes attitude, stops mid-way, looks your way.
- Now, (if and) when you talk, watch them listen.
(The “you” in the statements below, is YOU, dear reader)
I would love to hear from you if you have tried any attempts at concious listening. What did you hear? How hard was it? Did you find changes in the people you converse with? Did people respond differently? Did they find you odd, different, or interesting? Did more people start talking to you? Did consicous listening change the quality of any aspect of your life? Did you learn to love someone more?
The greatest gift you can give someone is your attention. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I will write on the changes in my life. Until then, Happy Concious Listening.
As I wrote, I was interrupted 39 times, all by loved ones. I listened to everyone and replied to none. No feelings were hurt during the production of this post. 😉