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The art of listening

It is regrettable that the art of listening has become an undervalued and forgotten art. We clamour to be heard and to receive attention. We forget that listening too is an important component to be an effective communicator. Priya Narayanan writes.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2010 02:07 IST
Priya Narayanan

It is regrettable that the art of listening has become an undervalued and forgotten art. We clamour to be heard and to receive attention. We forget that listening too is an important component to be an effective communicator.

How often we hear parents say, "I don't understand my kids." How can we expect to understand them or anyone for that matter if we don't care to hear what they have to say? We must understand that communication is the key to every successful relationship. And the best way to understand a person is by listening.

A true listener is much more understood than a non-stop, compulsive talker. He learns more and does better things in life. Good listeners do not suffer from loneliness and they have a positive energy that makes you want their company. They are effective in their work as they know what needs to be done and how to do it.

Listening is no doubt a skill and requires practice. While listening, we must acknowledge by a simple nod of the head, make a conscious effort not to let our mind wander while listening or ask an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said. Garb sanskar is mentioned in Hindu mythology.

The narration or mere listening to the mantras chanted is soothing to the unborn child. Besides, listening to inspiring stories, famous proverbs or music is an excellent method of conditioning the mind.

Abhimanyu was able to enter the chakravyuha because he had overheard Lord Krishna narrating this art to his mother. Prahlad, the son of the evil Hiranyakashipu was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Daily tales of Lord Vishnu were narrated by Narada to the expectant mother and Prahlad imbibed the virtues of godly nature.

So we must try to listen. We can begin by listening to our parents, teachers, friends, wife, husband, and children and even to our enemies. It will work a small miracle. And maybe, a big one indeed.