Try to imagine a situation in which you were trying to tell something to a friend and he kept interrupting you with phrases like: “that’s what happened to me when…” and he began to tell you his personal story without allowing you to finish yours. Or when you try to tell him about an argument you had with a friend and he tries to ask you questions that divert the thread of the conversation: “by the way, how is his father?
Although we often do it unconsciously, this kind of interruption is a clear sign of lack 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 type 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 were welcoming a guest, making room for him or her in our interior house.
Human beings have the need to be heard, so the lack of this element can make the interaction of the social relationship difficult and cause conflicts . In this way, it is difficult for the relationship to prosper and be fruitful, since there is no true communicative exchange between both originating 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 don’t know how to listen. Often, we don’t pay enough attention to the person next to us. Not only because of the amount of stimuli we receive from our surroundings (for example, the mobile phone).
This also happens because we are immersed in our own mental noise; our attention is carried away by our thoughts . We are more aware of what is going on in our mind, of our concerns, of what we want to say next or to give an immediate response to our interlocutor than to practice real conscious listening with the other, leaving him/her space and time to express him/herself, to practice silence and then to participate when he/she plays.
How can we change this habit? The fundamental thing is to change habits.
What to do?
When you listen to a person, don’t just do it with your mind; listen to them with your whole body. While listening to what they say, pay attention to the sensations in your body. In this way, you will take your attention away from your thoughts and redirect it towards your body, creating a peaceful space that will allow you to listen without mental interference, leaving a space for it to enter you 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 , such as paying attention to the sound of 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 the tone of voice, volume, speed of speech, facial and body expressions… In this way, we will have a broader vision of the message that they want to convey to us. The idea is to try to go beyond the superficial message they transmit to us .
The practice of deep listening has great therapeutic power for both partners. This is because it allows the listener to walk a path free of judgment and full of acceptance , and the listener to silence mental interference and generate a state of calm.
If we modify our listening habits to practice conscious listening, we will transform the way we relate to others; leaving aside superficial mind-mind interaction to become a true and deep interaction of human beings who communicate from their essence.
Cultivate the conscious listener within you and learn to listen from love.