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LGLWSM Newsletter 072 - The Spirituality of Listening
July 04, 2014

Last week in my newsletter, something I said struck a chord with me:

"When a good friend is telling you something's important, be quiet and listen; not only with your ears, but also with an open heart."

In reflection, I realized that even though I’m a good listener most of the time for my friends, I hadn’t been so great at listening to my son. He’s had some anger issues over the years (always directed at me only) and I wondered if it could have been (at least partly) my fault. Had I not been listening to him and that’s what was causing him to be so mad?

You see, I got so used to working all the time, that when he got home from work, I pretty much listened for like two minutes and then turned my back on him. It was more important to me to get my work done than to really hear what he was trying to tell me. He probably felt neglected and frustrated because I wasn’t more attentive.

And THAT was my BAD!

Over the course of the last month, we’ve had some real heart-to-heart conversations. I apologized to him for not being more attentive to his needs and he apologized for exploding at times. We also took a vow of non-violence together, which teaches you to be a peacemaker in this world and to strive for harmony in life.

So far, it’s been great! We’re getting along so much better because we’re both trying to be the hero, when the other one of us isn’t really ‘tuned in’. Here are a few ways you can become a better listener and rise to the occasion and become the hero, more of the time.

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The Spirituality of Listening

  • Listening has root connotations of taking care, noticing, tending to, serving, or waiting on. There is expectation, interest, regard, openness, and responsiveness. We are alert, ears are pricked UP, ready and eager to hear what’s being said.

  • In the constant hustle and bustle of life, what do you hear? It is said that most people only pay attention to what’s important to them and only hear a minute fraction of what’s available to them.

  • When you ignore the universe in all it’s wonders, you also ignore a wealth of feelings, insights, sensations, and thoughts that ebb and flow around us and through us.

  • You can’t be a good listener if you’re not being still. Some people do it through meditation, while others sit alone for a while in nature.

  • The universe is always sending you messages. To be open to them, you have to be quiet.

  • To really listen, you have to open your heart to hear the message that’s spoken to you.

  • Many arguments can be avoided if someone becomes the listener!

  • When you are listening, you can gain an awful lot of knowledge!

  • When you are tuned into others, it tells them that they’re important to you and are worth the effort. It also sends them a hidden message that you need to hear what’s said to you.

  • If you’re talking, you’re not hearing what others are saying.

  • Silent moments by yourself can lead to self discovery... a kind of recognition of who you are and who you are meant to be.

  • If you want to test your patience, spend more time around the elderly and young children. They are aching to tell someone about their experiences. All they need is an open ear!

  • Listening is key to developing relationships with others. The primary focus shifts to the other person and the implications of their message.

  • Anyone can talk. Not everyone listens.

  • No one is born being a good listener. It is an art you have to cultivate.

    Have you ever seen a child at a store trying to get mom’s attention? Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy... while tugging at her skirt.

    Most mom’s can shut it out for a little while but sooner or later, the energy it takes to ignore the child is too much and she finally listens. And when she does, she often realizes a richness in life that was always there, even though she didn’t notice it. It’s a beautiful thing!

    If you’d like to take the vow of nonviolence with me and Lars, it goes like this:

    "I vow to strive for peace within myself and I seek to be a peacemaker in my daily life."

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