Are you listening?
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Are you listening?

You can ‘hear’ others speak, but paying heed to what they are saying is what counts, says Chitra Jha

education Updated: Jul 07, 2010 10:10 IST
Chitra Jha
Chitra Jha
Hindustan Times

The biggest complaint of parents these days is that their children don’t listen to them. This habit of ‘not listening’ carries on until someday some soft skills instructor teaches us ‘how to listen’. I believe that the first duty you have towards yourself is to listen: listen to everything around you, including that small voice which speaks from within. Listening is an art and if learnt well it unleashes a creative force in us.

We all like people who listen to us; because when someone gives us a patient hearing we feel that s/he understands us. Don’t you like to be listened to? The need to be understood is the most basic human need. Then why is it that this need remains unfulfilled in most of us?

Listening involves a lot more than just our two ears. Ears only ‘hear’. Hearing is influenced by our conditioning, our opinions, and our belief systems, hence, most of the times we hear what we wish to hear. The words spoken by others pass through many layers of filters before reaching our mind which takes cognizance of them, and like the game of ‘Chinese Whispers’, what the mind finally deciphers is very different from what the speaker meant to convey. This gap in the spoken and heard word leads to misunderstandings, disharmony and conflicts in our lives.

So how is listening different from hearing? Listening is an ‘inner’ process. It moves beyond hearing. It knows no words. We cannot listen to others because we don’t know how to listen to ourselves. Our inner self is constantly communicating with us through our feelings, thoughts and emotions. This communication is also known as intuition, which means instruction from within.

Since we are not taught to listen to this inner voice it keeps interrupting us whenever we want to listen to the external sounds. This inner voice carries our inner compulsions, deepest fears, desires and needs. When we don’t pay heed to these, we remain restless and unhappy with ourselves and hence with others, especially the ones closest to us. We become emotionally challenged (low E.Q) and start playing petty games with each other. We start longing for others to listen to us. We start looking for praise and applause. We start harboring envy and malice.

To be able to truly listen we need to train ourselves to go beyond hearing. We need to involve our heart along with our ears. When we learn to listen to our own deepest truths, we can listen to those of others as well. Listening helps us discover ourselves and others.

Listening begins with deep contemplation. In order to truly listen we need to drop our masks and disguises. We need to free ourselves of our self-imposed inhibitions. The more we listen to our inner instructions the more aware we become of the outside world.

So wake up and listen, you will find someone who understands you; someone who is ready to guide you and show you the way towards fulfillment in life!!! Just Listen……………

The author is a life-skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer.

First Published: Jul 06, 2010 15:14 IST