Tag Archives: #silent

To Truly Listen

We had an open space session in one of our CPM retreats. And the topic was Silence – I went to the breakout room, and the session leader was there. He asked me, ‘Inside or Outside’ and I replied, ‘Does it matter?’ and he said no. We had just started a conversation when another person walked in, and Session Leader asked him, “Do you want to be outside or inside?” and he said, “Outside” and we had our topic discussion outside. As we were walking out I told the leader that I thought his question meant which topic would I choose – Silence inside or silence outside. We had a chuckle about it.

But this got me thinking. He said something, I understood it to be something, and we carried on with our logical yet misunderstood conversation. It was only when another person walked in the misunderstanding became clear. Now, this is a simple misunderstanding and did not have much of a consequence either. But I can imagine thousands of other conversations where I probably misunderstood what the other party was saying, or the other party did not understand what I was saying.

This is an issue because we humans use language as a significant means to communicate. How do we truly understand what the other person is saying? Does the other person even know what they are saying? Is there a meaning beneath the words we speak? Not sure, I have an answer, but I can offer the following viewpoints

Non Violent Communication: is the technique/practice that helps us listen to what is being said. It enables you to listen with your whole being without the senses to truly listen. “With NVC we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC helps us discover the depth of our compassion. This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honor universal values and needs, every minute, every day.” Check out the link for more information.

Silent Saint: Ramana Maharishi was also known as the Silent Saint – he rarely spoke, and still people got their answers. What would happen if we all went about our lives silently? When I go to Vipassana meditation I remain silent for 10-days, and there is a course for 60 days, 90 days where people stay silent. Life goes on well for them.

Does it matter: Does genuinely listening to other matter? We are a population of 8.5 billion on this planet earth and for the most part, life goes on with very few of use connecting with others.

Let’s talk a bit more about the “Does it matter?” – Can you imagine a world where we listened to each other without any bias/ judgment. Trust the process, and you get the results. For the most part your outer state is a reflection of your inner state. Being silent as we listen will ensure that we are heard. Understand to be understood.

Listening – Muscle

I have a hard time listening to others. I am very good at listening… to myself – I am beginning to realize that I love the sound of my own voice. And recently with the change in my role as a people leader I find myself coming back to the listening more and more. Maybe, its because I am realizing that unless I learn to listen I won’t be efficient. And like everything else this is also an ability that can be learnt and it will take time.

I have given this matter – “Why I don’t Listen?” some serious thought.

REASON 1: I believe I know all the answers. I believe I am smarter than others and get to solution quicker. And maybe I can but that’s not the end – is it? I would never do something if somebody told me to do it – unless I realize that’s it something I want to do usually it means I have thought about it. So this applies to other people too. And it depends on the situation – if you know somebody is running towards fire then you will do your best to stop them and not listen to why they are trying to burn themselves. Most situations in life aren’t that dangerous or crucial.

REASON 2: I don’t have the time. I have other things to do and cannot waste my time listening to people talk. Really! That is not true. And irony is if I don’t slow down and listen now, then I will always be hurrying. If I have to make life easier for me then I have to slow down and listen to people.

REASON 3: If I am just listening then what value am I adding? I have to realize that listening to people, truly listening people is the greatest gift I can give them in this world. And it is definitely more valuable than talking.

Or sometimes I wonder if it is the fear of silence, un-comfortable feeling that arises when there is silence – does it mean I have to hold off a little longer. Give people some more time before wrapping it up or filling it in?

Talking takes up a lot of energy and most of what I talk is utter nonsense. Just to fill the space. There is a very little part of what I say during the day that really has to be said. Rest of the time I am just trying to prove how smart and important I am. Now – that has its own place but not all the time. So, even though I know all this then why is it so hard for me to listen? Because I forget, and old habits die hard. But all great journeys begin with one step. And I set the intent to listen every day. Even I fail to do that the intention is there and that is the first step.

Why do I feel it is important to listen? Because I feel it and at this point in my life it is something that I need to learn. Like my dad had said – “I am trying to increase my listening capacity.” He and my husband, Adam would know as they listen to me all the time. I am grateful for that.

I am on a journey and hopefully I am at a different station when we talk about this topic next.