Today is Simple: Listen. It is one of the biggest gifts you can give another human being. It is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself.
A friend of mine said something profound recently. I was talking, she was listening. She said, “I am not sure what you want me to do-do you want me to reply? Do you want my opinion? Or do you just want me to listen.” Listening was the focus of two workshops I was in this month. It is important.
True listening starts with giving a person undivided attention. No phone checking, no looking away, no nods of affirmation. Just being 100% present and holding that space for them. No responses, cues or helpful-tidbit-you-want-to-get-in-before-you-forget are allowed. That derails the other person’s thought train, and they might never get back on track. Just listen.
True listening is another way of bringing stillness into the relationship. When you truly listen to someone, the dimension of stillness arises and becomes an essential part of the relationship. But true listening is a rare skill. Usually, the greater part of a person’s attention is taken up by their thinking. At best, they may be evaluating your words or preparing the next thing to say. Or they may not be listening at all, lost in their own thoughts.
~Eckhart Tolle Stillness Speaks
To offer someone time and space to be heard is a gift. As is the opportunity to be a trusted listener. It’s good practice, in what you can offer others, and receive for yourself.
Meditation to me is very much about listening. Sometimes it is focusing, sometimes it is letting go. But always, it is where I create space so I can listen.
Anne Lamott says in her bestselling book Help. Thanks. Wow. that these are her three essential prayers. I add one more. “Please Explain.” And then, I go find some time and space to listen.
Find that quiet today. Go into your bedroom, or out into the woods, or step out after dark to the wonder of the vast dark sky. Breathe. When your thoughts start to flood in, come back to your breath. And lIsten. Practice with people close to you.