Listening

by

How
do I 
listen to others?
As if everyone were my Master
speaking to me
his
cherished 
last words.

(The Gift: Poems by Hafiz.)
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky

Listening is a skill, a gift, a spiritual discipline.

Deep listening requires that I step out of myself and hear a person not for what the conversation gives me (information, insight etc) but for what the person really wants to communicate. We are challenged in listening to constantly suspend judgement, presumption and expectation as we wait for the truth of the other to be revealed.

The poem by Hafiz speaks to me of the attitude of openness that is called for… to wait with longing for what the other person is going to reveal.

Of course listening isn’t only passive (or else the person may as well just talk to a wall!) – once we have heard then we are called back into ourselves as listener to offer our way of reflecting what we have heard as a gift for the other person. They receive their truth refracted through us… opened up in a different way for them.

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