Much is made of the art of listening, and rightfully so. When we listen well, we give another the gift of respect. We acknowledge that they are important to us, and that we value them. We value how they think, and what they have to share.
Try Googling “be a better listener” and see what comes up: Most of the articles are about the mechanics of it, things like
- Maintain eye contact
- Tune out distractions
- Learn to read body language
- Be patient and don’t interrupt
- Paraphrase, restate or summarize
- Etc., etc. etc. . .
All good tips, however I think that the best advice gets buried in all these mechanics. To listen exceptionally well requires generosity; we are should be giving much more than we are receiving. Think about that for a bit.
We can listen best by giving ourselves up fully to being in the presence of another, with complete confidence that being with them will be worth every moment. So we give. We give full attention. Full acceptance. Full trust. Full generosity.
When we do that, all those mechanics fall into place by themselves, don’t they. Generosity takes care of everything else, and we can listen.
Our Ho‘ohana this month is on Lokomaika‘i, the giving and generosity “of good heart.”