Try to imagine a situation in which you tried to tell something to a friend and this has not stopped interrupting you with phrases of the type: “that happened to me when …” and begins to tell you his personal anecdote without allowing you to finish yours. Or when you try to tell her about a discussion you’ve had with a friend and try to ask questions that deflect the thread of the conversation: “By the way, how is your father?”
Although we often do it unconsciously, this type of interruption is a clear sign of absence of attention, active listening, empathy and, also, love. It is not a conscious, or deep listening. And this has consequences in our social relations.
What is conscious listening?
Deep or conscious listening is the kind of listening in which attention, empathy and love for the other reside. It is an act of generosity, because through listening we give our interlocutor time and space in our mind and heart, as if we welcome a guest making room in our inner home.
Human beings have the need to be heard, so the lack of this element can hinder the interaction of the social relationship and cause conflicts. In this way, it is difficult for the relationship to prosper and be fruitful, since there is no real communicative exchange between them that originates from love. It works as if we were saying to the other: “There is no room for you in me”.
The truth is that most people do not know how to listen. Often, we do not pay enough attention to the person next to us. Not only because of the amount of stimuli we receive from around us (for example, the mobile phone).
This also happens because we are immersed in our own mental noise; our attention is taken by our thoughts. We are more aware of what happens in our mind, of our worries, of the next thing we want to say or of giving an immediate response to our interlocutor that of practicing a true conscious listening with the other, leaving him space and time to express himself, to practice Silence and then participate when you play.
How can we change this habit? The fundamental thing is to change habits.
What to do?
When you listen to a person, do not just do it with your mind; listen to her with your whole body. As you listen to what he says, pay attention to the sensations of your body. In this way, you will move attention away from your thoughts and bring it back to your body, creating a quiet space that will allow you to listen without mental interference, leaving a space for you to enter and relate to it from love, with love.
If at first you find it difficult to practice it with another person, you can start by listening to your body through meditation, or through external stimuli, for example, paying attention to the sound of the rain.
When we practice conscious listening with others (it should always be) we will pay attention not only to spoken communication but also to non-verbal language; we will observe details such as tone of voice, volume, speed of speech, facial and body expressions … In this way, we will have a broader vision of the message they want to convey to us. The idea is to try to go beyond the superficial message that they transmit to us.
The practice of deep listening has a great therapeutic power for both interlocutors. This is so because it allows the listener to travel a path free of judgment and full of acceptance, and the listener to silence the mental interference and generate a state of calm.
If we modify our listening habits to practice conscious listening, we will transform our way of relating to others; leaving aside superficial interaction mind-mind to turn it into a true and deep interaction of human beings who communicate from their essence.
Cultivate the conscious listener you carry inside and learn to listen from love.