2023-09-04 Wise Listening (1 of 5) Listening Deeply
12:59AM Sep 6, 2023
Good day and welcome to this Monday, first talk of our next series. And following last week's discussion about why speech, I'd like to do this this week, do wise listening. And I thought it might be nice to do it in the same five guidelines for speech, and to apply those to listening. Listen in a timely way. Listen, in a truthful way. Listen, with Ay, ay, ay nourishing way, a pleasant way, a, a, listen to a way that really, really can touch people's hearts in our listening, listen from the heart. And then listen in a way that's beneficial. Listen, when it's beneficial, know how to listen in a beneficial way. And then to listen with goodwill. So that's what we'll do. Now listening is a metaphor for both a practice in itself and a metaphor for practice. And then there are times when we're communicating where it's not literally listening. Some people are deaf, and so not literally listening. But there is a ways in which we receive into our life into our self, the communication that other people are providing. And then that could be with an email, or this could be sign language, or other ways that people communicate. And there's something about being receptive to that, in a deep way, where we're sensing or feeling our way. Observing in a deep way, what is being communicated. And it said, sometimes in therapy, that a good part of what successful therapy is the listening skills of the therapist, that good? A good part of the skills of being a good friend is the listening skills of the friend, to really listen to people. It's also sometimes very closely associated with spirituality, that people who listen to the Buddha for his first disciples were called, literally called the listeners, and, and not the followers, but those who listened. And back in a time, but the buddho there was no written communication, there was no radio or there was no TV and monitors, all the communication happened orlaith up people had to listen, or, and or just use their mouth, for all the news and all the knowledge, all the education, all the the entertainment and music and songs and poetry were found, I received someone speaking them. And so knowing how to listen, and I believe because of that people listen to a different way 2500 years ago, because if they wanted to, it wasn't like you could go look up the poem later to review it or teachings later to review it. You had to either memorize it yourself, or go find someone who did who could recite it. But so those is to really listen deeply enough to hear it. And it goes deeply into the memory banks is actually an art a skill that many people in the modern world have lost or have never developed. And in they think the rules of St. Benedict the Catholic order, the rules begin with the word a sculptor, flattened for listen. So this listening is something really, really, really significant. And the qualities of listening that make it really healing or beneficial is when we can listen without inserting asserting ourselves into the listening. That our agenda is our desires. Our wants our rejoinder to the conversation, what we think and we're actually kind of raring to go like a thoroughbred out of there. The start of a race just waiting for the start button, we're ready to speak. But rather we're holding we're listening as if what we're hearing from someone else needs to be complete. We're interested in the whole thing in a deep way to let it register To hear, almost as if we're listening between the lines. The, the, there's a kind of a little story I've heard maybe made up of a, of a man who's having trouble with his marriage. And, and the therapist tells him, you have to really listen to your wife. So he does that comes back the next week and say, Well, I listened, but nothing, you know, changed. And the therapist said, you have to also listen to what's between the words was, you know, what's not being said. And so this ability to kind of listen to the words, the feelings, the attitudes, that concerns the history, the context, there's so many things to really take time to feel and sense. No, that can't be known if we rush to judgment rush to speak. So in this in the Buddhist mindfulness practice, listening, that is a kind of can be as a as a model or example of how mindfulness can be that mindfulness then has similar qualities to listening. We're not asserting herself, we're not inserting ourselves into the situation. We're receptive, we're taking in the situation deeply, we're letting it register, we're feeling it. You know, how it impacts us in many different levels, on our mind, and our hearts, maybe even in our belly, and really feeling and listening and what's happening here. And doing the same thing with with with another person. How's it coming from their background, how's it coming from their context in the world and in society, where How's it coming from the context of their joys and suffering of their life, how's it coming from their hearts, how's it coming from their belly, and what's happening for them, so to listen deeply, is a is a powerful thing to do. And for people who are doing mindfulness training, developing the capacity for mindfulness, this is a kind of a ready made, kind of possibility for developing your mindfulness in, in communicate in communication in, in the world, in your relationships with others, if you're wanting to develop greater mindfulness, simultaneously develop greater skills to listen. There's a story in my book, that monastery within a young person who family moves away for a year to some distant country where there's a Buddhist monastery, and the young person goes and learns about meditation, and they find it very meaningful. But then after the years to return to their own country where there is no Buddhism, no meditation, no one seems to know anything about meditation. And, and the young person asks the abbess now that I've gone back to my home country, how can I continue my training and meditation? And the abbot said, ask around for the person who is the best listener in your community, and then learn from them. So this idea of listening is kind of so akin to listening well, is so akin to mindfulness. So it's a way of developing mindfulness in daily life in our relationships. And so for today, the idea of timely, is it listening at the right time? And probably, it's always the right time to listen to someone to listen deeply. And, and, but if they, if but if, but if we only listen to them, and they're not interested in us, or interested in our response, at some point, you know, of course, it's time to listen to as over. But the time to listen, also is not just to listen passively, but to listen actively. And that's often the key to good listening, is not to be a passive listener, letting just people speak, but show them that you understand them. Active listening often allows you means that you kind of say, Oh, I understand. You're having trouble listening and, and that's a challenge for you or I understand, oh, look, you have a lot of trouble at work. I hear that and that must be hard. So just a little things that show that you're listening and you're attentive. I have been a conflict mediator and in my life as a Buddhist teacher, And the one thing I've learned is that
conflict gets resolved much faster. If the parties in a conflict, understand know, that they have been heard, and being heard means people have listened and have understood. And so I think a nice kind of guideline is that kind of like always the right time to listen. And there's a saying, I've heard that says that, you know, God gave us one mouth, but two years, so we can listen twice as much as we speak. And so you can probably adjust that saying in different ways, but the, but the idea that prioritize listening more than speaking, because then when you speak, the speaking might be much more effective. You won't have to say so much. If you really you don't have to repair so much. You don't have to explain yourself even more or clarify, if you've listened well and really understood what's what's happening with others, then when you speak, it's, it can be easier to speak with five guidelines for speech. So So for today, if you'd like to practice this trade in this during the day, next 24 hours, and look for opportunities to listen well. And if you're mostly alone, but you're listening to a podcast, or the radio or something, that's actually an interesting place to train, in listening, in a good way, watch your mind, see what you're doing as you listen? How much are you losing yourself and losing this kind of deeper way of listening? How much are you judging or reacting and losing a deeper way of listening, kind of below the words that are spoken and even, or the fullness of what's being said. So it could be, you know, just listening to something on the news. That's particularly useful place to listen, because the news is often offered in a way that can be to hook us in or get a little reaction from us. And so to listen in a deeper way to listen to politicians in a deeper way. And but listen to your friends, your co workers, your neighbors. See what it's like to listen in such a way that the people you're listening to understand that they're being heard before you come back with your rejoinder. And of course, this doesn't always apply if there's just a fun light back and forth that's going to playful. But anytime there's a little bit more serious conversation, to listen deeply, is a wonderful practice. So thank you very much, and I look forward to tomorrow.