We are losing our ability to listen effectively. The world is now so noisy and moves at such a fast pace, that it can be very difficult to truly listen. We think faster, act faster, multi task and are less patient than ever before.
We are surrounded by a world of distractions. News feeds scream at us from every direction, each one having to get more and more sensationalised to penetrate our attention in a world of noise.
Even the act of listening can be difficult. The definition of listening is making meaning from sounds but we subconsciously filter sound depending on our expectations, beliefs, attitudes and intentions. What we ‘hear’ shapes our reality.
Conscious listening creates understanding and the lack of listening can lead to misunderstanding, frustration, loneliness and even conflict.
Mindful listening is a way of listening with good intent. Actively listening without judgement and a compassionate attitude.
Try the following mindful listening practice as a guide;
- Cultivate an open attitude.
- Focus your entire attention on the speaker and when your mind wanders keep returning it to the speaker.
- Make time by putting away any physical distractions such as your phone.
- Ask yourself if this the right time for this conversation? If you don’t have the time to truly focus, then it’s better that you ask to have the conversation at a time when you do.
- Give the other person space, don’t interrupt or attempt to finish their sentences.
- Don’t be afraid of silences. Silences give us time to think and will often encourage the other person to continue.
- Don’t impose your opinions or tell them what to do. You may feel like you have the answer but it isn’t necessarily the right answer for them.
- Try not to judge or presume.
- Maintain an open mind.
- Be compassionate. We all want to be happy and free from suffering, remember this.
- And last of all, do not underestimate the value of just listening. You may feel as if you’re not doing anything to help when listening to a person who is distressed or upset, but being by that person’s side and truly taking the time to listen should never be underestimated. You are taking the time to walk by their side throughout their difficult journey.
Love & Light, The Happy Bee x