y Janet M. Shlaes, Ph.D.
“Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnamable and to embrace the unformed.” ~ Lao Tzu
Authentic listening is an art requiring the full utilization of all our senses, including intuition. When you’re truly listening with all your senses, words comprise merely a small aspect of communication. Think about the familiar greeting “how are you?” How many times have you asked this question and, although the response is “OK” or “doing well,” you know that “doing well” is far from the reality of the moment. Authentic listening requires time, intention, patience, focus and most of all caring; you need to want to hear both the overt and covert message and are motivated to take the time to hear what is and isn’t being said. Sometimes, the art of listening also requires honoring the overt message, allowing the other person to maintain his/her dignity in the moment. I have often found this last aspect of listening to be challenging at times. How does one know when to go deeper in listening and engaging in an honest dialog? I’ve found this takes utilizing our sixth sense of intuition, as well as taking the risk to listen and communicate on a deeper level.
How many of your senses do you listen with? What one action can you take today to expand your art of listening?
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