by Rod Smith

Listening to each other takes discipline, patience, focus and self-restraint.

It is an act of love and commitment and respect which requires deep awareness of nuance, tone and body language. It takes commitment to maintain eye contact, reflect on what is being said so neither person gets lost in the words or distracted by surroundings or seduced by “hijack thoughts” where totally unrelated matters capture one person’s imagination and they’re gone, even if they appear to be listening. 

Listening is a way of honoring and validating and an indication that the person talking and the person listening is thoroughly human and worthy of time and investment in every respect. To listen to each other’s is to hear the words and then to try to hear what is behind the words and what is inside the way the sentences are planned and packed and punctuated.

It is to enter into the world of another and get closer to his or her heart and nearer to the place we may all be truly seen, validated, and almost totally understood.

If we want to be good listeners it takes at least as much practice and anything else you may want to be good at like golf or the piano or tennis, writing, or art.

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