Communication is a mutual act; it takes two to communicate, one to speak and the other to listen. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “the greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought and attended to my answer”.
Since we spend a large part of our lives talking to people, mindful awareness of speaking and listening provides a wonderful opportunity to open the senses, heart, and mind to receive the moment more fully.
The following are some important guidelines:
- Listen to others with appreciation for the gift of what is being communicated.
- When participating in conversation, rest quietly and receptively in open awareness. If I am not present with me, I cannot be present with others.
- Listen to emotion, facial expression, and tone of voice as well as meaning. Listen to the silences between words or between speakers. You are listening to a fellow human being. Listen with kindness. Let the words, the stories, touch a compassionate heart.