Truly listening to another is not only an art, and it can also be applied as a spiritual practice. It’s so often overlooked, but as humans, we have an amazing gift to listen to each other. But before we can really appreciate and utilize this gift, we must recognize the difference between the auditory sense of hearing, and the spiritual gift of listening. These two functions within the human experience are more often than not, two distinct abilities.
To practice the art of truly listening, we must begin to silence our opinions and interjections, and this is where the deeper spiritual practice comes into play. Recognize that we have the ability to actually begin healing other people just by simply listening to them without judgments and interjections. Many times when friends, family, and loved ones feel the need to speak to us about their personal matters, what they are really seeking is another soul to share their experience with, in attempts to alleviate stress. Naturally, if we are asked to comment or put forth our thoughts, we must sincerely respond with our best advice. But many times this is not necessary for our loved ones and friends to actually work through the experience. Remain aware of this as you engage in slightly more intimate conversations. You can be of meaningful service to another through purely passive listening.
The deeper spiritual-growth quality of this practice is that of beginning to consciously over-ride the needs of the middle self (ego) to express opinions, control situations, and even analyze them through ignorance, to simply generate a response in conversation. This doesn’t mean that we are opinion-less or carry no wisdom to share as advice, but it does mean that we can at any time; choose to reserve our comments, exercising our spiritual maturity, knowing that by sincerely listening we can often serve others just as well if not better.
Begin to develop this gift of listening, as you never have before. I encourage you to take this practice even into the depths of conversations where a friend or stranger feels obligated to state what they don’t care for in your personality or actions. This is where the mastered listener can realize he or she has risen above the need to respond, defend, and generate responses of communication. This is an act of spiritual maturity and security in self. Realize that in accomplishing this, you are taking steps toward allowing your higher self to take the reins, so to speak, over your daily interactions.
Affirmation: “I serve others through sincerely listening to them speak. I choose to rise above my desires to defend my ego.”