The Lost Art of Listening
It seems like a lot of people today have lost the art of listening.
Yes, we all listen to things. The TV, the movies, the music we listen to… we listen to our teachers.mentors, bosses, or spiritual guides and take note of their wisdom (many times to our own chagrin as we find it necessary to help pass the course). But listening and hearing things can often be different I think.
The lost art of listening, as I see it, is the motion of listening to what someone says and understanding it. Making sure to understand the meaning and the context in which they say it, and better yet understand their personal reason and viewpoint for saying it in the first place.
These days it seems like we don’t take the time. Perhaps it is because we are in so much of a hurry. We move so quickly through our digital lives to meet the goal of accomplishing it – that we often miss what people are really trying to say… in fact we are so busy trying to think about what we should say next, that we take a sound byte from something to start to respond without really “hearing” what was said. Without acknowledging it.
Perhaps the reason that “texting” has become more of a popular way to communicate. After its a 2 way communication that requires that each actually reads the statement made in the text message. No need to call and have two way communication that may certainly require listening.
Sure, maybe the texts aren’t spelled correctly, perhaps they are sound-bytes themselves, but at least they come over just as planned. Indeed texting doesn’t require actually listening at all. But there is still something lost in the transfer. The persons inflection and the world of meaning that comes with the tone of it. Of course there is time to consider the response, immediate responses come from the volley of discussion. None needed in texting.
Listening has evolved in so many other ways. In this “surround sound” world we are looking for the thrills and impact of the movies we watch. Instead of dialog, we are looking for stunning sound and special effects. Driving the beat instead of the message is nothing new, but so often today the music gets lost as we are looking for. It gets lost in the next pop-star to come along. Those artist & musicians that have survived had something more to say… and for those music greats it is about the “listening”.
So maybe for me, its time to stop and take a listen. To appreciate what people are trying to say with their words. The meaning of it. To take the time to listen to the sounds around me, that surround me in such a much more simple way. How about you?