We can learn a lot from every event in life. Just as the honeybee has
the special instrument (proboscis) to extract the very essence in the
flowers, human beings have a special faculty (power of discrimination)
to maintain the quality of life by learning the art of true listening.
Listening is the channel most often used for “learning.” It is a vital
communication function; it improves our ability of understanding,
self-awareness and self-application.
Effective listening is not mere “hearing.” In fact, we all know from
our personal experiences that mere hearing – or poor listening – can
very well result in:
Poor human relations
Many other psychological blocks and maladjustments
Yes, listening has become almost a forgotten skill. Very often we are
led to believe that speaking represents action and power, while
listening connotes weakness and apathy. We find that resistance to
listening tends to be the cultural norm!
Sometimes, we pay attention to what interests us, and block out larger
areas of reality. Another block to listening occurs when we form an
opinion about the level of what is being said. We label the information
ahead of time as unimportant, too boring, too complex, or as being
nothing new. Due to such internal distractions, we become biased
listeners, and our minds are tuned out rather than tuned in!
Some people fake attention – just to please the speaker! Some have the
habit of interrupting when others are talking. Personal problems
sometimes manage to creep into our minds – diverting our attention –
while someone else is talking. Fatigue is another limiting factor in
listening, as listening takes concentration and effort. It is easier to
daydream and let our minds become preoccupied when our energy level is
A semantic barrier is very common in most of us. No two persons have
exactly the same meaning for the same word or expression. We evaluate
an individual’s competence and motivation through our semantic filters.
We make judgments about people, based on our varied beliefs, knowledge,
education, upbringing, what we understand, and what we see and perceive.
In short, the blind spots are within us. The angularities or the
changing moods of the mind are barriers to effective listening. The
barriers are caused by:
Shades of ego
Tendencies and attitudes
Images of past experiences
Prejudices of the past
Likes and dislikes
Expectations and anxieties for the future
Only when we become aware of our blind spots will we be able to
understand and reshape our beliefs, values, and attitudes. Therefore,
it is necessary to train the mind to widen its perspective and see
things in an objective way.
Let us have a “listening mind” – a mind that is open, unprejudiced, objective, alert, attentive, and relaxed.
Let us have a “balanced outlook” – enjoying spiritual strength, inner
stability, mental beauty, and physical perfection.
(Special Thanks to ipeace member Sivakumar for sending me these wonderful words)