Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Passion Party #543 - Listening

As a music major in college
I spent four years developing my knowledge of music and sense of hearing.
I learned to differentiate melody lines
and to tell if something was in or out of tune.
I developed "selective hearing" -
the ability to focus in on one sound while totally ignoring others -
(kind of like binoculars for your ears).

But the four years of developing my hearing
did not help me become a better listener.

Listening means giving complete attention for the purpose of understanding.
It is the difference between "I hear you" and "I get you."
It means paying attention to another person's thoughts, feelings and ideas, and not dismissing them because you don't agree or you did not think of it first.
It involves holding thoughts at  distance in order to respect the other person's point of view,
reacting only once you have put yourself in that person's shoes.

We often spend all day talking
and "being interesting"
rather than listening
and "being interested".

Just stop
the hum of the heater
the tick of the clock
the bird outside the window
the ring of the phone
and then listen
to what the other person has to say.