Thursday, April 29, 2010

Something about listening

My friend, Larry Hochhaus, offers the following today:
Listening is such an art. Listening may be more difficult than talking. So often when I'm listening I am missing part of what's being said because I'm focused on what I'm going to say when it's my turn to speak. Being focused on what is being said rather than my response to it is difficult, but part of being supportive. Perhaps the person sharing a problem with me doesn't want advice. Possibly they just want to talk and reach their own conclusions on what to do about it. Nevertheless, listening is how I show respect. I must be very careful about giving advice, even when it is asked for. Better than giving advice, I might simply share what I think the person's options might be but letting them make the final choice.
I do agree with this even though sometimes I inadvertently violate this principle myself. That's okay. It's just that when we catch ourselves doing too much of the talking or when someone points that out to us, we need to reflect on how we lost mindfulness in that situation and make a sincere effort to tune in rather than to broadcast so much.

Meditation will help with this enterprise. When we meditate, we make the intentional decision to settle, to keep silence and to listen, if you will, to our own thoughts. It's the best practice ever for learning to listen to others.


  1. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Thank you, thank you. It seems I have been having trouble with almost all of my friendships of my late (which should have been my first clue) and this so very much sums up my problem. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of true listening.
    Carolyn L.

  2. Yes, I know what you mean, Carolyn. I screwed up on that front myself recently. I think that's why this passage really grabbed my attention.


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