In order to fully grasp the concept of listening, let's begin by defining hearing. Hearing refers to the physiological process of perceiving sound through the ear and its neurological connections to the brain. It is a reflexive and automatic function that doesn't even require us to be present. Listening, on the other hand, is distinct from hearing.
In a transformational context, there are two types of listening. The first type is when we "listen to" someone, interpreting their words based on our own beliefs and comparing them to our existing conversations through our own perspective. This form of listening often reinforces our own beliefs and tends to filter out anything that challenges or disrupts them. We are simply listening to respond, agree or disagree, or to understand. Although listening to understand is more effective and allows for a deeper level of connection and communication compared to listening to respond, agree, or disagree, it is still limited by our level of awareness and worldview.
The second kind of listening is an act of intention, invention and giving, and as such, it naturally opens up a space for transformation to occur. This type of listening involves being fully present with the speaker without comparing their words to the noise in our own mind. It requires us to become a space of awareness and bringing ourSelf (our essence of being) to the person speaking, as if we have left ourselves for the moment and joined them in their world, simply to be there with them. When we can let go of our own agenda and be present with the speaker in this way, love emerges like a miracle, and we can listen beyond the words spoken and connect with what may be unsaid and operating in the background, creating a context for breakthrough and transformation.
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