Cultivating The ART Of Listening
I've noticed that as I cultivate the art of listening, the people around me are visibly uplifted, encouraged and strengthened. I relax into the phrase "the art of listening" because there I find freedom to grow in my skill of "hearing with thoughtful intention" just like many other skills I am personally cultivating.
When I think about why I want to listen, I realize that I am motivated by my desire to honor others above myself. The less self-absorbed I become, the more I desire to cultivate the "art of listening" to reflect the change of perspective that Jesus Christ continues to patiently bring into my life.
When I need a practical outworking of what is at the heart of the art of listening, I turn to these thoughts a friend shared with me:
To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.
Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to enjoy wonderful benefits you intentionally provide. In your presence they feel accepted, they take their own words more seriously and they enjoy the freedom to discover their true selves.
Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become your friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully and even dare to be silent with you.
What a joy it is to value others by listening! I get motivated each time I am reminded of just how important listening is to God. He loves it when His sons and daughters feel honored and they are honored when I faithfully cultivate the art of listening!