“When listening to another person, don’t just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Feel the energy field of your inner body as you listen.That takes attention away from thinking and creates a still space that enables you to truly listen without the mind interfering. You are giving the other person space – space to be. It is the most precious gift you can give.” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now“
Can you bring to mind a time when someone gave you the gift of truly listening to you? Deep into your heart? Maybe it was a moment of deep despair, or just a moment of confusion. Beneath everything, all the storms you carry around on the surface, they saw you. They knew you. They touched your humanity.
It takes practice to truly listen in this type of open and present way to what another person is communicating. It’s so easy for the mind to wander or to start thinking about what you want to say next instead of really taking in what the other person is saying.
It’s possible to approach listening as a mindfulness practice. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Tune into your own body sensations.
- Bring a sense of curiosity and compassion without an agenda.
- If analysis, judgment, problem solving, agreeing, or disagreeing come up, come back to just listening. The goal is connection, not trying to fix the other person.
- Tune into what the speaker wants, values, yearns for, or needs on a deep level.
- Honor and appreciate the fact that you’re getting a window into how another person experiences the world.
In this animated video, Dr Brené Brown shows us why this type of deep empathic connection is so precious.