Right speech involves listening from the heart, that is, you give your full attention to the words of others and listen without judging, preparing a response, or comparing. Listening from the heart means that you listen with an attitude of compassion, kindness, and humility.
– from Dancing with Life by Phillip Moffitt
When … someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good… When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to reperceive my world in a new way and go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.
– from A Way of Being by Carl Rogers
Most of us don’t really listen very deeply when we are in conversation. As Tara Brach says in The Sacred Art of Listening: « We spend most of our moments when someone is speaking, planning what we’re going to say, evaluating it, trying to come up with our presentation of our self, or controlling the situation. Pure listening is a letting go of control. It’s not easy and takes training… The bottom line is when we are listened to, we feel connected. When we’re not listened to, we feel separate. »
Dealing with Conflict
Effective communication with those who we disagree with is extraordinarily difficult. If you are like most people, you have a fall-back strategy to deal with conflict that was learned early in life, one that is habitual and embedded in interactions with others. The three most common strategies are: accommodate (« be nice »), demand (« me first »), or withdraw (« I don’t care »). There is a fourth way, one that involves investigating both your world and the other’s world, that can sometimes yield a surprising and creative solution that honors both worlds. In the martial art, Aikido, this would be called blending, a move that harms neither party and turns conflict into more of a dance than a fight.