Hear for the Sounds, Listen for the Soul
Do you really know how to listen? Can you call yourself a listener? Do you even want to be a listener? We all have so much going on in our day to day grind... many of our semi-robotic, over stimulated, virtual software driven, auto pilot brains hardly take a moment to pause to listen to even the echo of our own gibberish.
In my line of work I find direct, one on one, eye (and ear) contact with clients to be an effective asset in the process of completing a task we have joined forces to complete. But it doesn't happen without good dialog and a joint effort in both speaking and attentive listening. And listen, I most certainly do.
I have friends who are so excited to see me when we get together after a long sabbatical. So much so that they practically foam at the mouth with dialog. To get a word in edgewise, I literally must talk over them until they realize I am talking and pause. Some of my clients talk and talk but when it comes time for a response, (and even one that is to a question they asked) I can clearly tell that they aren't even listening to the answer, but rather are either starring off into the distance or planning their next round of blabber.
I know I am most certainly NOT boring (this is where you jump in and agree with me).
As they rattle off hour after hour of chatter my mind starts to wander away from the attentive listener I try so hard to be and think about things. (Come on, you gotta cut me some slack, I listen for the first couple of hours but then a slip is inevitable.) I wonder if this overload is caused by High Fructose Corn Syrup. Everything is being blamed on HFCS, so why not. Or, maybe it is the coffee toting, Starbucks loving, Frappy crappy lifestyles corporate America seems so hell bent on rolling off the assembly line into the arms of the next gen crowd. A lot of kids can't even sit in a car for 10 minutes looking out the window without complaining that they are bored. Why should making the effort to listen be any different. I wonder when it was in our evolution that listening became such a burden to so many.
Maybe we need another dignitary to drop dead so we can all share a moment of silence. Maybe then we will allow our brains to pause and our internal ears to listen for the message that nature is softly whispering. There is so much to hear if we just stop and listen. And, if someone happens to be sharing a genuine thought, you never know what you might learn.
As we practice good listening skills, which involve 1.) not talking. 2.) not planning the next thing to say while someone is talking to you, and 3.) leaving the mind open to evaluate the message, we begin to allow ourselves to experience a process the way it once was intended. Language is a two way street. Many of us take for granted the process of communication between two people and what new concepts can be formulated from such an experience. And, don't just 'hear' the words, comprehend the message and take its value into consideration!
It is unfortunate when a participant in dialog wants to do all of the talking. A true masterpiece is lost. If we can't listen to others while conversing, how can we possibly listen to ourselves. Meditation, self-healing, and so forth is most effective when we actually listen to our bodies, hearts and minds. How can we even think that we can talk to a higher source without also listening and being open enough to comprehend a response if one is shared. It is all internal dialog and it takes real listening. Real self observation. These things are what connect us to our higher selves and here is where we find answers to our own questions of life.
So, clam up and listen. It might just be the best thing you've heard all day.