“Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Lately in our world there is a lack of deep listening. We tend to talk at each other rather than truly hear what another is attempting to communicate. In order to feel safe we often jump in with our own opinions and to prove that our point of view is correct. Sometimes we even talk right over another.
This doesn’t lead anywhere useful because we didn’t actually hear what another has said.
As we listen deeply, attentively and non-judgementally you offer this person an opportunity to suffer less. We all just want to be accurately heard and when we put aside our own thoughts and judgements and truly just hear another, transformation and healing has the opportunity to take place.
When we give another our undivided and loving attention our relationship has a possibility of deepening and growing. This is a gift to another. Besides just hearing the words, invite yourself to feel the emotions and meaning beneath the actual words. It may be challenging to be so present. If you find this to be true the practice of mindfulness meditation can prepare the ground to make it easier to be present in the moment with another person.
How do you do this? When you have a friend in need, take some time to come home to your true nature, reside in your body- aware of your breath. Then begin to listen from your body, your heart. Just listen without offering suggestions or comments. Be aware of the urge to fix them and breathe through it. Feel their words enter your heart and become aware of what you are receiving, become aware of your own thoughts and reactions and gently soften your heart to what they are saying. Do not interrupt, just receive. I invite you to hold a safe space with non-judgment.
After your friend has finished you may want to just repeat what you heard them say. What I heard you saying is…..
Do not offer opinions or comments, you can ask for further details if you wish later. Perhaps you can use this way of listening at your holiday gatherings.
Let’s be here for one another with kindness and care.