"Listening is a lost art in a world full of noise. It is only when we become quiet and listen that we come to understand what is truly going on - especially inside of ourselves." — James McPartland
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen - just listen. Perhaps the most important gift we can ever give to each other is the gift of our attention. Deep listening often has far more potential to connect us than the most well-intentioned words.
Listening requires silence, and that silence enables us to develop an understanding of people - what they are saying and what they are not saying. Further, deep listening serves to amplify what they want to be saying. Listening allows us to hear what others have not resolved within themselves or manifested in their lives.
A practice that has helped me to grasp and appreciate the person I am listening to is to assume that what they are saying is true. It is most certainly their truth. From that stance, I endeavor to figure out what is going on within their view of the world that makes it true. Accepting people as they are, and as they are not, is an authentic act of presence. If my listening can help people clarify where they are at this moment in their life, I believe I can help them identify the choices that will take them to where they truly desire to go. It is virtually impossible to reach our intended destination if we do not know where we are departing from.
In my work, I intentionally listen to help people to see through the lens of their story and the ways in which the narrative they are living clashes with the narrative they want to be living. I discovered (and am often reminded of) that lesson through my own growing pains. I came to realize that I was designing my own obstacle course. I have learned to appreciate the power of listening to my authentic self as it has given me the gift of being able to listen to others.