Thursday, October 27, 2016

'Listen with your heart'

Yesterday we talked about listening with compassion. All of us need someone who will listen to us. Is there anything more wonderful than knowing we've really been heard? And understood?

To quote peace activist and Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh again from his book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames: "We know that many people suffer, feeling that no one is able to understand them or their situation. Everyone is too busy and no one seems to have the capacity to listen. But all of us need someone who can listen to us. ... Listening with empathy means you listen in such a way that the other person feels you are really listening, really understanding, hearing with your whole being—with your heart."

To listen in such a deep way takes intention, and it takes practice. It means we have to learn to set aside our own agendas and really tune in to the frequency of the other. We have become far too accustomed to multitasking, even when it comes to our communication skills. This isn't good for relationships.

Perhaps today would be a good day to start by engaging at a deep level with someone you know—and listen, really listen, to them. Listen with your "whole being—with your heart," as Thich Nhat Hanh says.

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