Listening

A few years ago a popular cell phone company here in the U.S. took the cell phone market by storm by using simple yet innovative television commercials with the catchphrase, “can you hear me now?”  They tapped into a basic human need; to be listened to.

 Listening is an art form that escapes the heart and ears of most communicators.  It is said that communication is the number one reason for broken relationships and listening is at the core of all communications.  In my previous tidbit on wisdom I suggested the wiser we become the more we listen or is it the other way around? If the secret to becoming wiser lies in the way we listen to each other, then most humans are not very wise.

 Listening is mostly about presence.  We may be there physically, yet our minds are usually preoccupied formulating an answer to what we are supposed to be listening to.  What complicates things further is the fact that the average person speaks about 125-150 words per minute while you can listen to and comprehend up to 600 word per minute; ergo: your Listening Input Channel is usually underutilized by a factor of 4-5.

 Now we have a scientific reason why we don’t listen to each other.  Do we really?  When I started this series on conscious living I suggested that we needed to get out of our boxes.  So here is a big step out of the box.   What if we were to make a more conscious effort to listen to each other? That would entail direct eye contact, a little more concentration on the words being said and our mind totally preoccupied with the person speaking. 

 It wouldn’t really matter if we liked the person or not; whether we are interested in the conversation or not would be irrelevant.  The moment we make the decision to listen, we must immediately engage our being into that process or the scientific facts will take over and our mind will wander.  Try it with someone and see what happens.

 There is so much to learn about each other and about the world around us if we decided to listen with intention. Passive listening is what most people do, but people who want to live consciously must take it to the next level and watch a whole new vista open up before them.  Wisdom will be an unexpected yet pleasant visitor.  New interests will pop up out of seemingly nowhere.

Publilius Syrus was a Syrian who was brought as a slave to Italy in the 1st century BC.  He did not remain a slave for long.  Using his wit, talent and listening skills he won the favor of his master, who freed and educated him.  One of my favorite sayings from this slave who became very wise is the following: “Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.”  Sometimes instead of saying so much, we just need to listen, thus showing our latent wisdom.

If you will listen, I will show you. I will answer you from my own experience. Job 15:17

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