Monday, May 05, 2003

State Of Communication For All Time - The Zen Of Listening
When a person is given a chance to tell his views without the threat of judgment or advice, even if his listener does not agree, that is the first step toward creating good feelings. A sense of openness on both sides allows for discussion and problem solving. Self-esteem grows from the respect that comes from being heard. People are better able to attend to school lessons, projects, and the responsibilities of the workplace when basic emotional needs, like being understood, have been met. Henry David Thoreau said, "The greatest compliment that was ever paid to me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer." When confidence grows, we are better able to discover our potential and positively influence others. Mindful listening has the power to change the direction of our lives and those we come in contact with every day.

Listening is also a healthy activity. Studies show that when we listen, heart rate and oxygen consumption are reduced and blood pressure decreases. Contact with others promotes well-being and self-expression, both necessary for good physical health. By being good listeners, therefore, we promote the good health of others by allowing them to reduce their stress and empowering them to solve their own dilemmas. An empathetic listener provides helpful feedback that makes the speaker feel valued. This is a significant gift in a world where the human touch is a rare commodity.

I accidentally stumbled across this essay (ed. fixed) and find it compellingly meaningful. Especially in the blogosphere, the art of listening and understanding is not where it should be. I shouldn't even make that qualification, of the blogosphere, because from everyday life to diplomacy on the world stage, really listening seems to be out and selective attention and confirmation is in.

This treatment of the art of listening by Rebecca Shafir is fabulous and timely, communicating crucial implications for everyday life, relationships and meaning. Be sure to really listen to Rebecca when reading. I give her the highest recommendation that Freedom Century is able to give. The Freedom Mojo.