Are you a Good Listener?

Stop, right now. Yeah, I’m talking to you the listener! Just stop!

For a few seconds, just take a breather in your busyness, and listen. Hear the world around you, the noise, the clock ticking, creating pressure.

Listen to the silence that must be filled with something, I suppose? The sound of silence feels like the abuse of time wasted.

What a royal waste of time to just listen. To stop and just be calm and embrace what you are hearing.

What is it like to be deeply listened too? For someone to stop in their lives and to sit with your conversation, and just be there. Not to problem solve, not to offer advice, not to add more should on the shoulders. To deeply listen to the soul. To actually be there for the other without any thought of what will be received. Unconditional acceptance and positive regard.

Perhaps it’s a spiritual discipline/ habit/ exercise that we can all try this day. To listen with big ears (don’t you just love the picture).

I like to collect quotes on various topics. Listen to these ones.

  • By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk. Doug Larson
  • It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it. Sam Levenson
  • Listen to the whispers and you won’t have to hear the screams. Cherokee proverb
  • The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich
  • Listening creates a holy silence. When you listen generously to people, they can hear truth in themselves, often for the first time. Rachel Naomi Remen
  • Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Unknown


What will be required for you to be a good listener?

Here are few ideas.

1. Shut up, yourself. Put a zip on the lip and open the door of the heart.

2. Put your opinions, ideas, wisdom, knowledge etc up on the shelf, at least for a while.

3. Ask questions, lots of them, encouraging the other to explore what is happening.

4. Realise you don’t have to provide the answer to every problem. Mystery and unanswered questions invite both parties to listen to Father, Jesus and Spirit.

5. Silence is ok, don’t hurry to fill it. Remember God spoke into the silence and created all things. Do we invite God to speak into our silences, or do we rush to fill them with our own creativity?

6. Good listening takes time, don’t rush the experience. Schedule it, if need be, its valuable.

7. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to what the other is saying. They are being vulnerable and giving you a gift of themselves. What is this gift generating inside of you? Are there pressures building inside you to problem solve, to advise, to correct etc. Why are these pressures there? Can we listen to ourselves and just be at peace with the moment and hold the pressures lightly?

Allow the one who listens to you 24/7 to slow you down, and give you big ears for the whispers of others.

Barry Pearman

Image: Creative Commons

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