Does your child or significant other ever say, “You’re not really listening to me.” The chances are the person is right. They know your focus is somewhere else and they don’t feel connected. Let’s explore this connection further.
Do You Experience a Place Inside That is Quiet?
Ask yourself, do you experience a place inside that is quite as opposed to the never-ending internal chatter. Are you aware of this chatter ever stopping? Not for an hour or minutes, but are you aware of a place inside where there is just quiet?
Some might answer “yes,” while focusing when playing sports, being in nature, exercising, dancing, praying, or meditating. Some answer “no” the chatter never stops. It’s like the energizer bunny that keeps on going and going. Doubters, I can assure you the place of quiet inside does exist. As you experience “masterful listening ” you will experience what quietness feels like.
We define “masterful listening” as suspending our thoughts, totally present and focused on what a person is saying. We quiet our mind to connect with our heart to nurture those we love. Children crave our full focus and connectedness. As a way of experiencing masterful listening let’s become aware of what we do instead of listening.
What We Do Instead of Listening
In our programs and books, we list 13 things we do instead of listening. The main ones are the following:
1. Judging others: In the moment we are judging another person, whether it be their cloths, ethnicity, accent, tattoos, or hair etc, we are not listening to them.
2. Doing: We are not masterfully listening and really connecting to our children when they are talking to us as we are watching TV, doing the dishes, and/or talking on the phone.
3. Thinking of a Solution: As a result of caring and wanting to help our children, we often think about a solution to a problem they are sharing rather then practicing “masterful listening.” It is helpful and rewarding when you choose to quiet your mind, focus on what they are saying, and wait until they stop talking to offer a solution.
Here is your home assignment. Over the next week, choose one conversation a day you are having with your child (or someone else who is important to you) and observe what you do instead of listening. Then return to the internal quietness and receptivity, the foundation of “masterful listening.”