I seem to be on two tracks here – one track is regarding conditions for Listening. These conditions are for becoming a strong container or receptacle/receptor for listening. These are pretty much the same for all forms of Listening. The other track I am on with this blog project on Listening is discussing the deeper levels of Listening, those that are beyond hearing with the physical ear, particularly the quieter and even silent levels. All Listening can transform our reality, that is, help us expand our consciousness, and the deeper we go, the more we transform ourselves and perceive the Nature of our existence.
As I mentioned, hearing involves the eyes as well as inner vision, the body as well as intuition. As my friend Val described so vividly in her comment to a previous post, we can listen even with our skin, an experience we might say is both physical and intuitive. Listening as I am defining it here, often involves the heart as well as everything in us.
Today I will continue discussing the conditions for Listening deeply, with the topic of Humility.
As much as courage even, Listening requires the quality of humility. How often do we respond or even give advice before we have fully listened? Before we have the whole picture? Even if we have listened, do we ever know better than the person themselves what is right for them? Does our ego even know what is right for ourselves?
Even as a counsellor, I do not give advice, which may come as a surprise. The term counsellor can be misleading to those seeking support as well as to beginning counsellors. I see my job as a therapist/counsellor as supporting others to discover their own answers and resources within themselves, thereby also empowering themselves.
Sometimes counsellors listen purely to be witness, to someone’s pain. We listen because being listened to itself is healing. We listen because transformation can occur in the mix of client, skilled counsellor, and a third mysterious knowing force. Deep Listening is not passive. It takes focus, energy and skill, as well as a kind of trust in something beyond our rational mind.
Humility requires that we let go of our need to perform, have answers, be right, or gain admiration or acceptance. When we are humble, we are on the same level as everyone and everything. We are therefore more trustworthy. Others (whether human or otherwise) are much more likely to open up to us and reveal the truth of who they are to us.
It is an honour to receive another’s vulnerable sharing. It is an honour to witness and receive communication from nature. It is also an honour and privilege to receive the voice of our most essential selves.
By listening, we allow in something new. If we humbly allow these gifts to enter us, and are able to assimilate what we receive, we are never the same again:
Here is a lovely quotation sent to me last night by Krista.
Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words. Roy T. Bennett