Obviously listening is important. The biggest communication problem arrises if we do not listen to understand but rather to formulate our reply.... not really listening at all. However, just listening only is too one-way, and it misses out on the important elements of feedback and discussion. This makes the overall communication slow and unproductive and the non-reply can easily be taken to mean agreement by the originator. To be effective, communication needs to be two-way, with both giving time for the other to speak and listening sincerely.
Our growth in general depends on opening up - to learn from our experiences, from our emotions, from our intuition and inner guidance, from other people's viewpoints and discoveries. To listen is to be in the present - and to be meaningfully present. Indeed, as Paul Tillich says, "The first duty of love is to listen."
Listening is key, of course. Both to others (not cutting in, giving the other time and being genuinely interested to learn the other's point of view) - and within ourselves (opening up and being conscious of our feelings).
Why courage to listen? Because we are opening up to alternative ideas and as a result our precious beliefs and fixed ideas may be threatened and our ego rightness put in question. But without genuine listening there is no chance of real progress being made. Great men and women - and our best leaders - are not afraid to speak from the heart nor to listen generously. Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone, so that they do not feel alone. And comforting someone by simply listening and caring is something we can all do.
You need books and stars to understand the world, but when it comes to you, and spiritual truth in general, the answers are to be found within. When you listen to your inner knowing, expressed in deep authentic feelings, from the heart.
Many of us want to be of service in the world, and are inspired to make our lives and our work useful to others. The desire to help others is noble, however, our most effective and powerful service is offered from detachment rather than based in fear. The detachment we speak of here is defined by Angeles Arrien as "the capacity to care deeply or maintain compassion from an objective place." Continues...
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