Listen Listening Listener
Many of us never learn to listen but keep up a continuous conversation that has nothing to do with what was said by the other person. I get the impression that they have said it all before and do not think up something new, just old tapes playing.
Listening is important because if we do not learn it we could miss hearing the intuition that would guide us in the most satisfying direction in life. Perhaps we miss hearing the many things the person we are going to marry is telling us, or even what our body is telling us about how it feels when we eat. Often we are so busy thinking our own thoughts that we completely do not hear what our children or those near us are telling us.
As an example my youngest son Quentin had been asleep so I left him to take the dog for a walk. When I came back I found him awake, sitting in the boy’s bedroom in the chair by a sleeping Mark. He had obviously found an empty house and sorted out the only company he could find. His comforter firmly in his mouth, and a bag of toy animals in his hand, he was sitting quietly. When I came in he scolded me for having gone without him. Later as I was getting the boys sandwiches and taking Quentin to the toilet, he said his legs had gone off and he needed to be carried. I refused and said he could perfectly well walk downstairs. We argued this out and he gradually walked downstairs shouting, but at the kitchen door he refused to walk any further, and feeling irritated I said he could jolly well stay there then.
Later in the day I suddenly saw so clearly the meaning of this little drama. I saw how because I had left him alone he had been afraid and had sat with his sleeping brother as his only armour against this fear. He was really saying, “Dad I was frightened and alone when you weren’t here. Please come to me to show you really want me. Come and pick me up so I can see you love me.”
Blind fool that I am, I couldn’t see this, and now my tears of regret poured out in deeply felt sobs. I wanted to get to Quentin so quickly, to tell him I was sorry, and show him I loved him.
When we dream of listening it is important to ask yourself what tone or voice, what attitude it was spoken with. Also was someone trying to persuade you, or was it something you could understand that was good.
Example: When I started walking down the aisle, my father grabbed me by the arm. I was startled. Then he followed me up to the front of the auditorium saying that I had to come with him. I tried to tell him that I was in the middle of something and I couldn’t. I hadn’t even gotten my diploma yet. He got upset and started to lecture me about not listening to him, and said that he was trying to give me something and I should pay more attention to him. So I went up to the stage and got my diploma, went back to my seat, which was in the front row. I put down the end of my rope on my seat and went to see what he wanted. I was upset because I wasn’t able to see my friends graduate. My dad gave me my graduation gift. He gave me a piece of paper that told me what my graduation gift was. All I read was Theta Chi Theta, Spring and the word Baseball.
Example: They refused to listen to my feelings…what I needed. I ended up feeling devastated, hurt, angry, resentful…acting it out… carrying the baggage of the situation for the whole family. They turned their backs on me; there is nothing I can do to change that.
Example: He listens for the sound of me with his ears, and watches for the sight of me with his eyes. In the stretches of woodland by the road he waits for me, in the dusk and in the morning he seeks me out, even in the midday and in the rain. Expectant of heart, I await the coming of the elephant, for I loved him even in my fear.
Useful Questions and Hints:
Was I playing ‘old tapes’ or was I listening?
Did what was said fully engage me?
Was it a new thought or idea that I heard?
If I was talking what was the response from those listening?