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The sound of silence...



...if you cultivate patience... you begin

to hear the beautiful sound the truth makes

in the silence between the words.

One could be forgiven for believing that the ability to listen is a universal skill, something we all possess. After all, how hard could it be for us to be still and pay someone else our undivided attention – to give our time and patience to another human being? But sadly this isn’t true. How many times have you begun talking only to be interrupted with another’s story that rivals your own, or have someone interject and ask how you can reverse what you’re saying into a more positive emotion, oftentimes before you’ve even had the chance to complete your sentence.

You see, the art of listening really is an art, and for those who can do it, it’s simple and for others, it’s a practice. To truly listen is to have patience for the person speaking to reach their point. They may start off talking about something that isn’t that important to them, a minor worry or concern, but by your reaction they’re really gauging whether it’s safe to build up to the thing that worries their very soul.

If you interrupt this vital process of trust-building you lose the delicate thread of the truth and nothing of great healing comes from your conversation. But if you cultivate patience and then add in a big pinch of compassion and non-judgement you begin to hear the beautiful sound the truth makes in the silence between the words.

The common mistake of ‘bad’ listening is to believe at face-value those words spoken as an introductory sensor into deeper conversations ? re-language this; not sure everyone will understand. And let’s face it, it’s easily done. We have less time, less patience, less energy to focus on other people and slowly deteriorating listening skills because we never practice them. How many people can really ‘hear’ the words between the words or be bothered to read between the lines. “Just get to the point” can be the inner mantra while listening to others speak, “I have things to do.”

And I guess this is where compassion comes in, not to “oh” and “ah” at what is said, but to have the compassion to be ‘there’ with them through their story. To give the gift of your time and your undivided attention. Because when you do this you realise that their story isn’t the point, having a witness to the story, someone who reflects back without judgement how their story, their inner dialogue and their reaction to life is effecting the one speaking is the point. It’s priceless. That kind of reflection brings wisdom to a soul, to see beyond the story, the fear, the loneliness or the sadness, to see that it’s not real. It brings liberation, the freedom to soar again.

As you practice your listening skills you begin to feel the texture of the words, the music each sentence is making and where the story is truly going. The connection you make as you listen to this music allows for deeper relationships, not just with the one speaking, but also with yourself.

Because you can’t listen to someone else with that depth of understanding without hearing the sound of your own soul whispering in your ear – your breath of life that’s urging you on to higher things.

So even though the art of listening can be a selfless act it can also be hugely rewarding.  Sometimes the words uttered by another are the manifestation of you, because maybe you were too busy to listen to yourself and hear what you really needed to change.

If you want to move your own life forward, start listening.

You’ll be amazed what you hear.