Hearing, listening and waiting patiently for a chance to speak are three different activities. We know that. But perhaps “listening well” could be a fourth. Not only could it help us peacefully recenter, but it could also enrich our relationships and support our spiritual growth.
Sometimes I say I’m listening when I’m waiting. Sometimes there’s more coming out than what’s going in. Sometimes I think I can figure it all out … with just a little more thought. The feelers are out, and they’re all over the place.
Listening well — it’s not like rest or “active listening” or silence while thinking. It seems to have less to do with the ears and mind and more to do with an overall experience of stillness. We “take in” what’s around us, seen and unseen. We get “in tune” with a bigger picture. We remain mindful and nonjudgmental of each passing moment, accepting it as it is.
How does listening well enrich our relationships? People can feel our authentic presence. How does listening well support our spiritual growth? It helps us hear that still small voice that guides us on our journey.
As the old Tibetan proverb says: Goodness speaks in a whisper, evil shouts.