Listening for a Change*

“Listening for a change” — there’s a double entendre there.

If people started listening rather than always trying to get in the last word, we might be surprised by the change we see.

“Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within another person.”   — Rachel Naomi Remen

“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.” — J. Isham

“How do I listen to others? As if everyone were my Master speaking to me His cherished last words.” — Hafiz (1320-1389, Persia) Sufi Muslim mystic

There are many ways to listen, and I’ve learned new listening skills during my visit to Gaza.

  • We can listen superficially, nodding with a smile on our face, while our mind is swirling with other thoughts.
  • We can listen intently, fashioning our thoughts in response before the speaker has even concluded her thoughts.
  • We can listen in a patronizing sort of way, jumping to conclusions without really hearing anything.

Of course, none of the above is productive listening.

  • We can listen with no agenda or other distractions on our mind.
  • We can listen with an open heart and spirit, hearing both the words and the feelings that the speaker is sharing.
5 ways to listen better
TED Talk — Julian Treasure — July 2011

Treasure prescribes  RASA — Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, then Ask, to further explore the other person.

     He appeals to all of us:

“Connect with each other.  … Let’s get listening taught in schools.   …  Transform the world in one generation. … To a conscious Listening world.  …  A world of connection, a world of understanding.  …  A world of peace.”

* Thank you to my friends in Beyond War, Libby & Len Traubman, for helping me learn so much about the skills needed to build a world beyond war, and for the material that I have shared in this blog post.


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