Listening is like Water to the Plant
One of the costs of being a lightworker, aware of what’s transpiring, is that we want to tell others about it, but we get invalidated right and left when we do.
Either being ignored or ridiculed may cause us to close down.
In that event, a good, long listening proves to be like water to the plant. The plant blossoms – especially among lightworkers who’ve been doing so much clearing work anyways and are open to re-opening.
I watched it happen at the Bridge to Now when people really listened to each other. People unburdened themselves. Their faces changed.
It simply reinforced in me that listening has to be one of the most valuable gifts one person can give to another.
Around and around we go, looking for someone who’ll listen to us. Movies are done ridiculing us as co-dependent, weak-willed, etc.
I personally don’t think wanting to be heard is a neurotic thing. It can be in some people, I suppose.
But real listening is rare in our society so I can imagine people looking for it.
One Message: Simply Listen
If there was one message I wish got through from all my work, it would be: Don’t talk. Don’t advise. Simply listen. That thread runs through 30 years of my life.
The prevailing habit of our society is to equate “contributing” with breaking in to another person’s share with a real game-changer that usually begins with “you should….”
We listen until we’ve made up our mind on our diagnosis and there our listening stops. We’re now framing our statement of advice and awaiting our opportunity to deliver it. You can see it in our face.
That isn’t listening. Not even close.
And what does the speaker do having been so derailed? Closes down, saying to themselves, “One more time I wasn’t listened to.” The advice usually falls by the wayside. If it was heard at all, it’s usually rejected almost immediately. The speaker is now too downcast to even consider it.
When I was counselling in my Sociology doctoral years, I stopped advising when I saw that people weren’t listening to what I was saying. Not a word of it.
They simply wanted to return to their story and finish. They seemed to want me to shut up.
Under those conditions, problem solving didn’t work. I went with the flow instead, threw my agenda out the window, and simply listened. And, of course, being me, I really went at it, studying listening inside out and outside in.
I dropped all ideas of what I might get out of the exchange. I dropped any agenda that came up. I dropped the need to feel important, as in “I contributed the game-changer” – whatever it took to see what the power of listening was and could be.
Listening proved to me to be among the most powerful therapies, short of those that manipulate energy.
The hardest thing to do when listening is to drop the desire itself to make a difference because, unless we’re free of Third Dimentia, that can become another door leading back to advising.
- When that red-hot idea comes up of a bright thing to say, consider dropping it and just listen.
- When you wish you were doing something else, let that thought go too and sink down into listening.
Listening is Foolproof
Listening is foolproof. If we feed back to the other person our understanding of what they’ve just said, they’ll correct us if we’re wrong. Therefore we can’t go wrong.
So little of the seemingly-important things in life are taught in school – relationship, sexuality, parenting, and communication, including listening. (Who will plan the new curriculum?)
That new curriculum needs to have a course on listening. It’s a learned skill, just as not listening is.
Many people say that they won’t go to a party or event because they have nothing to say. There are two perfectly respectable positions in an interchange: Speaking AND listening.
Everyone who speaks needs someone to listen to them. So there’s no need to excuse ourselves from events because we have nothing to say. If we genuinely have nothing to say, we can listen.
We’re missing out on the joy of listening – the joy of really making a difference in a person’s life by putting aside our needs and simply hearing another. Plain, bare, neutral awareness. Reception without judgment.
This role that truly makes a difference is so inconspicuous and modest that when you and the speaker produce a breakthrough or emergence, the speaker usually doesn’t know what just happened or how it happened. Very, very seldom did a person I listened to know how the breakthrough occurred.
Few see that it was the listening itself that allowed them to put all the puzzle pieces on the table and see the big picture. Our society does not consider mere listening a significant contribution.
But never mind that. It is a significant contribution.
So don’t wait for a comprehending thank-you or acknowledgment. This is a selfless activity. You have to acknowledge yourself here.
The more we understand that we cannot force people, that they have free will, the more we’ll understand the value of listening.
Discover the joy of it. Just sink down. Be present. Be neutral.
And simply listen.