Learning To Listen
Listening requires stillness. Of all the questions students have asked their parents, teachers and masters, “Who Am I?” and “How do I know?” are at the top of the list.The answer is to be still. But people are rarely ready to do that. So, there must be a way to get people to listen and enjoy the experience. Music is one way. People will listen to music. They may still be engaged in other activity but the hearing thing is in affect.
In the quiet. you hear all kinds of things. Mostly, you hear thoughts. Your own thoughts and the words of others that resulted from their thoughts about things. Quietly, you can decipher what conversations you need to be a part of. You may wish to lay out of most, once you know that they are not purposeful in your agenda.
We all have an agenda, goals, wishes, dreams that we each want fulfilled. I have a dream. You have a dream. Each of our dreams takes people to make it come to fruition. Every person’s dream takes other people to come true. Even if my dream is to sit absolutely still for 10 hours, that could be disrupted by another person, making my wish able to come true only if I am not distracted by another person.
Interacting with other people has its ups and downs and you must be able to tell which interactions are the ones for you. Discomfort is not the only means of detection. The ability for each person in the relationship to listen to the other has great bearing on the success of communication between the two people. There are several variables from gender to age, background to career choice, political and religious beliefs, education and lifestyle.
Of the nearly seven billion people on the planet, few are exactly alike. People tell each other, “We have a lot in common.” But truth is each person experiences life from a totally unique perspective and it is difficult to make people see things from your point of view. My point of view is just that – my point of view. We may be able to see the same shapes and colors but the feeling that a thing invokes is purely individual.
People believe that those who speak and know what they are talking about love to hear themselves talk. Quite the contrary, those people listen to others and themselves and are able to formulate an answer or conversation in a more cohesive and appropriate way. People, who don’t listen, often miss what’s being said and are trying to formulate answers when they have already been spoken by others but the chatterer was just not listening.
It’s those who know how to sit quietly, while others chatter on, that know there is a solution to a problem and will state it once everyone else is through hypothesizing. Listeners are usually on target because they have heard all the sides in the arguments of others. They can decipher what is sensible and discard what makes no sense. They are the arbitrators of happenstance. Listening is an Art and it takes lots of conscious practice.
For centuries, yogis and monks have practice quietude. Not speaking to others is one form of this practice. But really tuning into the sound of silence around you is an exercise that builds the listening muscle.