Well, you are not alone...many of us don't listen or at least don't know how to listen intently.
And with a few simple steps and ways to practice listening you can not only listen better and be heard but you can experience more love, connection and acceptance of yourself and others. Who doesn't want to experience that?
Today I'm going to share how you can become an excellent listener NOW not later. You will learn:
1. How to have an open conversation to create deep understanding
2. Listen with no expectations or judgments
3. Feel more love and connection through silence
Mindful listening- is a practice that I learned from one of my meditation teachers, Sherry Williams, that I use in any group work I facilitate, as well as in all of my relationships. The practice of mindful listening can be so important because our minds are often distracted and unable to focus. To create deep understanding you have to be present in order to listen and take in what is being said. You also have to be listening without your own agenda and without being busy formulating what you will say next.
- Designate time alone with the person with no interruptions at least 1/2 an hour
- Sit across from each other comfortably and close enough that you can have direct eye contact and be fully with them.
- One person at a time take turns speaking while the other person ONLY listens. And then switch roles.
- When listening that is your only job (no interrupting, limit your head nods, and that's a hard one to do) until they are completely done.
- Job of the listener: be present and listen with love and compassion. Avoid getting in your own head, anticipating your response, judgments, and expectations. REMEMBER your job is to listen with love.
- Job of the speaker: be present and say what's there for you, it is okay to have a variety of emotions this is the time for you to really share from your heart and speak your personal truth.
When we have no expectations or judgments what is available?
- When we fully allow ourselves and each other to say what's there and get it all out, it naturally becomes easier to hear it and to have compassion for both ourselves and the other.
- You may find as you are the listener a judgement creeping in (this is to be expected) simply acknowledge and keep listening and holding a space of love as best as you can. With practice like anything it becomes easier to do over time.
The act of SILENCE in conversation
- There may be moments when you both are in silence during the conversation. Don't be in a hurry to fill it in. Can you be in the silence? Yes, it may feel awkward, that's okay too. There's a lot of power in silence and learning to be okay with that. Consider that being quiet is another way to feel intimately connected to yourself and the other.
- If you find yourself to be more of an introvert you may crave this silence in your life. We all need to experience silence at some point as we are constantly bombarded with sounds outside and in our own heads all day long.
- When you find yourself in what may be awkward silence at first, simply breathe, stay present, and hold a space for the two of you that is filled with love. This is where miracles arise.
Observe any sensations in your body and be curious
- After each person goes take time to notice the quality of your energy, how do you feel in your body, in your heart, what thoughts are present?
- Practice being a mindful listener in your everyday life in any and all relationships, with your co-workers, children, friends, etc. And notice what arises between the silence and in the space of love.
A reflection from one of the women in my most recent group presentations said, she was surprised at how much easier it was for her to say what she needed to when the other person was only listening. And she even mentioned that she saw how valuable this would be to do with her children and that she was going to go home and give it a try.
So if you find yourself wondering why no one listens to you or seems to understand what you really are saying or you realize someone has been talking to you and you have no idea what was just said...try on Mindful listening with someone and you may just find you can hear a whole lot better!