Listening can be defined as 'giving your attention and effort to hearing sounds or what a person is saying'. Mindfulness can be understood as a state of awareness where you are fully present and conscious of all that you are sensing and feeling in the moment. Mindful listening is being in the state of mindfulness and listening with full presence to all that you are hearing.
Mindful listening is an act of love, for when you in a mindful state you are choosing to listen intentionally by pausing your thoughts and opinions to take the time to fully immerse in another person's perspective or reality. When you listen mindfully you can form deep and genuine connections. Mindful listening has many other benefits for both you as the listener as well as the speaker; it is a habit and skill that we can take time to develop. Within this article, we shall explore some of the benefits that mindful listening can offer as well as practical ways to practice mindful listening.
The Benefits of Truly Listening
You can gain so much by cultivating the practice of mindful listening, below are some of the ways that genuine listening can be of benefit:
Through listening you can gain a real understanding of other people. You can gain insight into how they see the world or a situation and be more equipped to respond appropriately or empathize.
Genuine listening is the foundation for building strong relationships based on an authentic foundation of knowing each other.
When you take the time and effort to listen this will encourage others to trust you more, it is an integral part of building trust.
People Are More Likely To Listen To You
When you truly listen it will likely be naturally felt and acknowledged by the other person making it more likely that they will listen to you too, allowing for better a flow in communication as well as an opportunity for more interesting conversations and connections to form.
You Can Learn New Things
When you listen mindfully, suspending your judgment and need to be right you may actually learn something new or expand your perspectives. Listening can allow you to become more open-minded.
Ways to Practice Mindful Listening
Humans are generally not the most amazing listeners; it takes practice and focus to form the habit of listening mindfully. These are some of the ways you can cultivate mindful listening:
Presence is the state of being fully in the moment, being completely engaged with the experiences and sensations of the now moment. Presence is the foundation for a mindful state of awareness and so it is essential for mindful listening. A state of presence can be cultivated through intention, deliberate focus, meditation, and breathwork practices.
Intentions are a powerful guiding energy of our personal actions. Setting the intention to listen mindfully can serve as an affirmation or mental commitment to yourself that you want to be a mindful listener. Now that you know more about the benefits of listening you can see that listening mindfully is a win-win situation. When you understand that this is genuinely the best thing to do it is then easy to set an energized intention. You can simply set this intention by saying it to yourself out loud or silently, writing it down, or working with it within your meditation or personal spiritual practices.
Beyond the Ego
Another key element of mindful listening to consider is to listen with the awareness of your ego and prejudice. The ego is the root of our need to prove ourselves right, to identify with specific agendas or constructs, and defend these beliefs. To truly listen to another we need to suspend the ego to hear their point of view without distorting it with our preconceived notions and reactions. Simply do not focus on yourself for the time you have decided to listen and do your best to tune into the other person's wavelength.
A Still Mind
Keeping your mind still and free from internal chatter will allow you the space to fully witness what you are listening to. Listening with a still mind is linked to some of the points mentioned above as it takes presence and awareness of the voice of your ego to cultivate mental stillness. Stilling the mind is a practice that will serve you beyond just listening to others but also to become more mindful in listening to your own internal dialogues.
A few more simple listening reminders...
Fully focus on the person that is speaking.
Listening can include paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal elements.
Try to listen more than you speak.
Avoid interrupting the person you are listening to.
Let go of the desire to prove a point or be right.
You can do something subtle to show that you are listening to encourage the person to continue speaking their truth.
Acknowledge that each human is unique and life is full of nuance.
You can learn something or be reminded of something from every person that you listen to.
Things that are of value and quality usually take time and effort to master. The opportunities to listen are abundant so take everyone that you can to set forth your intention and practice mindful listening. As you see and feel the effect it has on your communication you will likely be inspired to continue until the state of mindful listening is part of the genuine aligned flow of your way of interacting with life. __Written by Music Of Wisdom team