I have searched in vain for courses and seminars in Listening.
You will find tons of books on Winning Presentation, Zen Presentation etc.. but not listening.
For one, listening is hard. You have to suppress the urge and the tendency for mis-matching.
You have to enter the other person’s frame of reference: understand what he/she is saying, then let it sink in (in milliseconds), filter it then gather from experience to offer an appropriate feedback and response. Turn-taking.
This is not even a counseling situation.
Just listening and comprehension.
We carry inside us internal noise that distracts us.
We get interrupted often by cell phones, traffic noise and loud music (someone else’s).
In the 60’s, we saw movements that emphasized group therapy, zen and mediation (Sound of Silence).
Hyper-sensitivity, emotional gestation and healing.
I am OK, you are OK.
Then we turned inward (Habits of the Heart), narcissistic decade (Me Decade).
That’s when the culture war began in America: Right vs Left, Red vs Blue, Sacred vs Secular.
At least President Carter supported something practical: Habitat for Humanity.
Before we realized what’s coming down, we were on to SUV’s and CDO’s.
No one seemed to be listening (the Queen of England was quoted as saying “How come no one saw it coming” in referring to the Housing Crisis).
That careless whisper, that gentle wake-up of common sense was out-noised by the lambasting of greed. Irrational exuberance, says Alan Greenspan.
Greed has always been good, on Wall Street or Main Street.
Madison Avenue should launch “IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND” campaign.
If no one is listening, then we might have to spell it out in bold print.
I read somewhere that at the end of life, our multiple strains of memories will fast rewind.
I wonder if the sound we heard, since we were inside our mom’s womb, will also play back for us: all the pleasant sound, the scary sound, the ill will and good will, the instruction and the obstruction, truth and lies, praises and criticism.
I want to start hearing starting now. Please take it from me that I am all ears. And that your concerns are mine too, because I am present with you, fully alert and aware that life is difficult and often times, full of pain. I might not be able to offer solutions, but I promise to listen, without distracting or deflecting. I promise not to stand in-the-way so you can be free to unload. I, in short, want to be your real friend.