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Listening deeply
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My mind tends to wander. I attempt to listen, but my mind finds tangents and goes after them, like a rabbit that sits still for a minute and then dashes off. I remember the person in front of me is talking and then try to piece together what the topic is and what they may have said. I have to step past my ego to ask a question, such as, “How are you related again?” or “Was this Seattle?, etc. Usually the person just answers the questions and moves on. I think they are probably not that focused on me either, but want to tell their story. I have a friend who once said most of us don’t really have a problem empathizing with others when they are talking; we are just thinking about ourselves most of the time. True listening is an art and an ability to completely come out of our own self centeredness. I agree with this. I believe Roy Rogers said “I may not be much, but I am all I think about”. It’s a burden. I don’t think this is new, really, but recognizing it is. I can see it sooner, and pay direct attention to the person. It helps to stop whatever I might be doing and focus on their face, their emotions, and body language. I can imagine the scene in which they are speaking of. I can set myself into their position in this scene. I can feel their emotions and their views/judgements of the events. See how they may have reacted to the other person in the situation. When I can do this, I can hear them completely and I am part of the telling. It’s not really a two way discussion, but more of a listening to the pain and angst of another human being trudging the same path as me. I am happy to be this person and it does leave me with a sense of lessening their pain. I think we take on a part of the pain when someone invites us into their experience.

Listening to another person in a conversation is also an art. I want to hear their view on something we have both experienced and then give my view. I truly enjoy a conversation that is two way and polite, giving each other plenty of time to finish without interrupting.

I think I have been an interrupting person. Coincidentally, I seem to have attracted several friends that talk without taking a breath. They are not good listeners, but for some reasons I care for them deeply. I enjoy their company. But why? Can I see their inner soul despite the irritation of monologues? Is this a lesson that I have sought out and want to be willing to let my own ego go completely? I know if I have a need to completely tell a story, I know how to ask for that. Do I need to do that every time? I don’t think so. Maybe it is a habit. I see it all around me. Rarely do people truly listen to each other. If I am able to see it as a problem, I believe that I am beginning the process of seeing it clearly in myself and that it is my current challenge. So, listening is paramount to me right now. Writing is the opposite of listening, but maybe it helps to get the “me” out of the conversation elsewhere. We shall see. I have been disappointed when I spend so much time and energy changing an old habit and find that it never completely leaves, I just notice it sooner. I have some misplaced belief that my job is to completely resolve all issues. I actually believe when that occurs, I will have achieved Nirvana and I am not quite ready to go there yet……

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