Here’s this situation…
Someone is talking to you and half way through the conversation you awaken into the present moment and come to realize you have missed half (or all) of the content? Or possibly, after the person has finished, they ask you a follow up question? (oh no!) And because you have missed the entirety of the conversation, you stumble to reply with a nugget of unmindful wisdom… or simply say, “huh?”.
Guilty as charged!
This is the glowing neon sign which points straight to the meditation cushion for some deep listening practice!
Tips for practicing listening and also a guided meditation by Tara Brach (my favorite teacher!) focusing on listening deeply.
As you practice these skills, remember it is a practice. This skill develops over time. Continue to work when you remember to do so and not to judge yourself when you loose your listening attention. Simply stated, begin again, in the present moment with kindness. You’ll find that as you listen to others, you understand them better and can connect in a more meaningful way.
Listening allows us to understand one another. Without this we are lost or unheard, hurt, and wanting others to see our point of view. Listen Deeply to heal yourself and others.
One beautiful aspect of practicing listening is that no one has to know! You can practice it with anyone, anywhere. One can also choose to tell a close friend, partner, or coworker they are practicing the art of listening, or communication in general. This may allow for accountability or a spring board for communication questions, “How did it feel to be fully listened to? The same? Different?”
- Listen everyday as if for the first time – While talking to your partner, child, co-worker, anyone! Listen as if it were your first conversation, curious and open.
- Practice Silence – 3 to ten minutes each day resets and recalibrates your hearing and listening capabilities.
- Take off your headphones – although a wonderful invention, allowing us to be in control over what we hear and when do we do, the content and context to which is inputted into our brains. This has turned each of us into our own sound bubble, taking us out of the collective, disconnecting us from our surroundings (people, nature).
- Savor the mundane – the laundry machine, heater, water boiler, shower running, broom across the floor, crunch of snow, door slamming, cars honking, etc.
Practice with a Partner!
The Mindful Listening Exercise
The Mindful Listening exercise involves these steps:
● Step 1: Think of one thing you are stressed about and one thing you look
● Step 2: Share your story with your partner.
● Step 3: Direct your attention to how it feels to speak, how it feels to talk about
something stressful, as well as how it feel to share something positive
● Step 4: Observe your own thoughts, feelings and body sensations both when
speaking and listening.
● Step 5: After each partner has listened and spoken, answer the questions
Listen Up! https://www.ted.com/playlists/92/listen_up
Photo Credit: https://www.ted.com/topics/communication