What do effective communicators know about listening that not so effective ones do not know?
Picture your relationships. Now, think of them as systems of power plays. We are in those every day. Any relationship is a field of energy. Pay attention to the dynamics, the processes and you can detect the health of the system. Low energy, monotone speaking, distracted listening, convoluted or incoherent decision making = sick system. Joyful, creative, engaged energy, collaborative and yet sometimes confrontive, but respectfully confrontive = healthy system. So, how do we create this type of healthy system?
In our last blog, we asserted the importance of respect in forming dynamic, transformative systems. In today’s blog, we shine the light on “Deep Listening.”
Think of a time – see it in your mind’s eye – a time when either you knew someone was listening deeply to you or when you chose to listen deeply to someone else.
(Jot down the experience.)
Now, think of the feeling of having someone tap so accurately and deeply into your message that you wanted to say, “Yes! You heard me. Spot on!” Name the feeling. Perhaps the word, “affirmation” fits. When someone sees me at this level, I feel affirmed and I want to say, “I am…..”
We all need to experience this awareness of “I am…..!” Among the most important of listening’s capacities is the ability to help us help people develop clear, solid identities that are rooted in values that, in turn, build and sustain a healthy culture.
Technically, deep listening is the willful use of one’s sensory, perceptive, imaginative, and rational faculties to discern accurately and completely the speaker’s message. It includes seeing through layers of details to connect with the underlying meaning, both cognitive and emotional, of what one is saying verbally and nonverbally. To do this one has to possess ample self-awareness to shift from one’s own ego-based agenda to hear the other person’s agenda/motivation. In doing this, the listener gifts the speaker with Presence. This generous gift enhances the energetic field, providing both space for and added energy for further communications.
The enemy of deep listening is fear. The impetus for listening is love. Consider that fear is constrictive. It causes the individual to build walls, to withdraw, to seek safety over connection, growth, or creativity. On the other hand, love is expansive. It offers itself in service of something or someone beyond itself. Love, which is the energy that has created our universe and that continues creating for infinity, is 100% available to us at all times. Within every person there is an activation button to love’s thermostat. Set your thermostat to love and it responds. This love desires the highest good for every individual. But it acts according to universal law. The law being this: Actions of love must be consistent with the following guidelines or laws. And Love only responds when we invite it to respond. We are always free to choose.
Is the thought, feeling, action respectful?
Is the thought, feeling, action truthful?
Is the thought, feeling, action responsible?
Is the thought, feeling, action compassionate?
There is much more to say about listening but for this essay, let us stop here. Take time to re-read the essay. Ask questions. Think of your own life experiences. Consider how you can strengthen your own listening skills. And get ready to enter a whole new phase of joyful, encouraging, empowering relationships.
Watch for our next blog, Blog # 3: True Community