Listening, like many of our behaviours, can often be done mindlessly (data shows that we are distracted about 75% of the time when listening), which results in us missing opportunities to be present and effective in how we communicate.
Are you aware of your listening habits and the way they affect true human connection? Knowing a little about what influences how you listen can be a step toward recognising any tendency to listen mindlessly and making changes where necessary.
Two things that get in the way of mindful listening are attraction (how we want it to be) and aversion (inability to tolerate how things are), manifesting as:
- We might think we are a good listener, when in fact we are just good at keeping quiet.
- We might listen with the aim of interjecting at the first opportunity.
- We may hear the words, but not how they are said, or what is not said.
- We may listen from the perspective of ‘knowing’ what the other person means.
- We might not listen because we do not like what is being said, we are bored or we are not willing to be changed by what we hear.
Perhaps you can recall a time when you were really listened to by someone: they got what you were saying and you were ‘heard’. Notice now how that feels in the body, mind and heart. Perhaps make an intention to act in a way that offers this feeling to others when they are communicating with you. Through practicing mindful listening (https://soundcloud.com/hachetteaudiouk/meditation-5-sounds-and-thoughts)
with an attitude of kindness, curiosity and patience, we can build and sustain a new habit and move toward closer human connection.
For more information about Sheila visit https://www.srmindfulness.com/