Thursday, February 02, 2006

listening as hard as i can

i am listening as hard as i can. listening as hard as i can today will make my capacity for listening even better tomorrow.

i am listening as hard as i can. listening is hard work. perhaps in truth it is our only work, though we are often listening for and to the least beneficial things. i work to listen to the messages around me, messages to me from the Universe, messages from God. i work to listen to people in my life, in my world. listening is holy work.

i am listening as hard as i can. my increased efforts in listening are opening the understanding of my own habits in speaking. now that i work hard to listen to others, i discover the many various ways their messages are unclear, the ways they are diverted into tangents that never return to the thread of the conversation, the ways they get “caught up” in their stories and become no longer present. much of our talking is simply relaying something we have already lived, something that carries little significance to the present. i have been seeing my own self more clearly by listening intently to others. truly listening diminishes my need to speak. and listening is very hard work.

i am listening as hard as i can. i took some time to identify the many things that interfere with truly listening, those things such as preconceived ideas, filters, expectations, judgments, personal needs and desires…it was a fairly long list. truly listening calls for the least service to my own agenda, calls for my greatest openness, my willingness to alter previous ideas.

i am listening as hard as i can. deepening this practice means i lessen the number of things i listen to. listening means staying present, holding this moment and not another. listening means doing my homework, taking notes and following through on concepts and impressions i receive. listening means commitment.

i am listening as hard as i can. listening to people is different from listening to other sources of messages in my world, for listening to people is inter-reliant. i do not merely listen and learn but hold a responsibility to respond and to ensure the one giving to me feels “listened to.” sometimes it means guiding the other back to his or her intended message. listening to others means listening to what they are saying, how they are saying it, and what they are intending to say. it means being supportive and gracious.

i am listening as hard as i can. and it is making all the difference.

photography by permission cindy lee jones

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