One who cares is one who listens.
J. Richard Clarke
listening and suspending one's own judgment is necessary
in order to understand other people on their own
terms. As we
have noted, this is a process that requires trust and builds
is not merely not talking, though even that
is beyond most of our powers; it means taking a
vigorous, human interest in what is being told us.
I spent most of my life waiting for my turn to
you’re at all
you’ll be pleasantly amazed at
the softer reactions and looks
of surprise as
you let others
completely finish their thought before you
you will be allowing someone to feel listened
for the first time.
sense a feeling of relief coming from the
person to whom you are speaking—and a much calmer, less
between the two of you.
No need to
worry that you won’t get your turn
speak—you will. In
fact, it will be more
rewarding to speak because
you are speaking to will pick up on
patience and will begin to do the same.
learned person who only talks will never
Penetrate to the inner heart of humans.
first duty of love is to listen.
God speaks to us every day
only we don't know how to listen.
The older I grow, the more I listen
to people who don't talk much.
Germain G. Glidden
Friends are those rare people who ask
and then wait to hear the answer.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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things and all people, so to speak, call on us with small
or loud voices. They want us to listen. They
to understand their intrinsic claims, their justice of
But we can give it to them only through the love that
Listening, not imitation, may be the
sincerest form of flattery.
The golden rule of friendship is to
would have them listen to you.
can hear your loved ones no matter how poorly your
ears work. I
know deaf people who are able to
hear with their hearts. And I know
perfect ears who drive their families crazy with
lack of hearing. I know about this
firsthand because our children
used to get upset
when I read the paper and watched television while
they were talking to me. They'd say,
"Dad, you're not listening." I
repeat all the things they said to prove I was
they told me that being able to
repeat their words was not the same
thing as hearing
them. Hearing means listening attentively to
had to say. Today when one of the
children wants to talk to me, I put
down the paper,
turn off the television and listen to what he has to
me. . . . I also have learned how to say
"m-m-m" in many ways and to
stop trying to
solve everyone's problems. They thank me for
It helps them to clarify and solve
Prescriptions for Living
is the reward you get for a lifetime
of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.
emerges when you can listen to someone's tale of woe
and not respond with a description of your own.
greatest gift you can give another
is the purity of your attention.
may be ineffective in my interactions with my work
my spouse, or my children because I constantly tell them
what I think,
but I never really listen to them. Unless I search out
of human interaction, I may not even know I need to
listen. Even if I
do know that in order to interact effectively with others I
to listen to them, I may not have the skill. I may not
to really listen deeply to another human being. But
knowing I need
to listen and knowing how to listen is not enough.
Unless I want
to listen, unless I have the desire, it won't be a habit in
or your tongue will keep you deaf.
Native American Proverb
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One of the
most important habits of a creative thinker is to be a good
listener. Stand guard at the ear-gateway to your mind,
heart, and spirit.
to the good. Tune your ears to love, hope, and
courage. Tune out gossip and resentment.
to the beautiful. Listen to the music of the
masters. Listen to the symphony of nature--the hum of the
wind in the treetops, bird songs, thundering surf. . .
critically. Mentally challenge assertions, ideas, and
philosophies. Seek the truth with an open mind.
with patience. Do not hurry the other person. Show
them the courtesy of listening to what they have to say, no matter
how much you may disagree. You may learn something.
with your heart. Practice empathy when you listen.
Put yourself in the other person's shoes.
for growth. Be an inquisitive listener. Ask
questions. Everyone has something to say which will help you
creatively. Listen for ideas or the germs of
ideas. Listen for hints or clues that may spark creative
to yourself. Listen to your deepest yearnings, your
highest aspirations, your noblest impulses. Listen to the
better person within you.
with depth. Be still and listen. Listen with the
ear of intuition to the inspiration of the Infinite.
25 years, Wilferd A. Peterson
wrote a series of stimulating essays,
The Creative Adventure, for Science
of Mind Magazine. He lovingly
compiled this volume of his
favorite and most-requested
pieces (including several new
ones). His writings will stir your
own originality and demonstrate
that the creative potentials which
we carry within each of us are
truly unique and endless.
|I suspect that the most basic and powerful
way to connect to another
person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the
most important thing we ever
give each other is our attention. And especially if
it's given from the heart.
When people are talking, there's no need to do anything but
Just take them in. Listen to what they're
saying. Care about it. Most
times caring about it is even more important than
understanding it. Most
of us don't value ourselves or our love enough to know
this. It has taken
me a long time to believe in the power of simply saying,
"I'm so sorry,"
when someone is in pain. And meaning it.
One of my patients told me that when she tried
to tell her story people
often interrupted to tell her that they once had something
just like that happen
to them. Subtly her pain became a story about
themselves. Eventually she
stopped talking to most people. It was just too
lonely. We connect through
listening. When we interrupt what someone is saying to
let them know that
we understand, we move the focus of attention to
ourselves. When we listen,
they know we care. Many people with cancer talk about
the relief of having someone just listen.
Kitchen Table Wisdom
like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening
carefully. Most people never listen.
have a saying about conferences between legal
opponents: "The side
doing the talking is losing," For the longest
time I thought that the test of my value
was what I had to say. When I wasn't talking, I did
listen to others, but with half
my mind figuring out what I'd say next. It's as though
I had been listening to music
and just registering the melody but not hearing the harmony,
the subtleties of phrasing. To really listen takes
active attention. To have listened
and absorbed the whole message, with all its connotations,
its unspoken and
maybe unintended shadings, makes it likelier that when you
you will contribute more, and do so with fewer words.
may be one of the most important activities we can choose to
participate in in our entire lives. Listening--really
a great deal more than our ears. To listen, we need to
empty ourselves for
a while. We need to adjourn the committee in our heads
and invite its
members to take an extended vacation. In order to
listen fully, we have to
be able to dismiss idle head chatter, criticism, and
Otherwise, our heads are far too crowded to have room for
We have to open our hearts as well. The
absolute very best listening is
done with our hearts, not our heads. We have to be
willing to let the words
enter our beings, where they can be tenderly sifted and
sorted so that we
are available to know the various levels of their true
meaning. Then, we have
to be willing to open our beings so that the deep crevices
of our ancient,
connected minds can caress that which goes beyond the frail
utterance of words.
Listening is a highly complex and intimate
Anne Wilson Schaef
Meditations for Living in Balance
listening, too, it seems to me, it is not the ear that
hears, it is
not the physical organ that performs the act of inner
receptivity. It is the
total person who hears. Sometimes the skin seems to be
the best listener,
as it prickles and thrills, say to a sound or a silence; or
the fantasy, the
imagination: how it bursts into inner pictures as it
listens and then responds
by pressing its language, its forms, into the listening
clay. To be open to
what we hear, to be open in what we say. . . .
cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the
M. Scott Peck
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you,
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you,
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
is a silence that matches our best possibilities when
we have learned to listen to others. We can master the
of being quiet in order to be able to hear clearly what
are saying. . . . We need to cut off the garbled static of
own preoccupations to give to people who want our quiet
more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the
will hear what is sounding outside. Only they who
listen can speak.
Most experts in
communication emphasize the power of attentive
often in conversation we focus not on what the other person
is saying, but on
what we are going to say in response. At times we cut
the other person off even
before she has finished making her point.
To resolve difficult interactions, we have to go beyond a
superficial attempt at
understanding. We have to listen deeply for the clues
that show us a meaning
beneath the words. If we listen to someone carefully,
we will hear certain words
or phrases that describe how the other person views the
world. What's more,
when we listen deeply to others, it makes them feel
validated and understood. It
lifts them into a higher awareness of who they are and what
they believe. This is
similar to what happens in the active listening of a
Salle Merrill Redfield
a Life of Joy
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Listening is the oldest and perhaps the most
powerful tool of healing.
It is often through the
quality of our listening and not the wisdom of
that we are able to effect the most profound changes in
the people around us. When we listen, we offer with our
an opportunity for wholeness. Our listening
creates sanctuary for
the homeless parts within the other
person. That which has been denied,
by themselves and others. That which is hidden.
In this culture the soul and the heart too often go
Listening creates a holy silence. When you listen
generously to people,
they can hear the truth in themselves,
often for the first time. And in
the silence of
listening, you can know yourself in everyone.
you may be able to hear, in everyone and beyond
the unseen singing softly to itself and to you.
My Grandfather's Blessings
We begin our lives listening to the many
sounds surrounding us in
the womb. When
we are dying, the last faculty to shut
usually hearing. In between, there is
so much to see
seldom take the time to cultivate the art of
uses other practices: attention, being present,
openness. It is
holy work, involving in
the inventive phrase of W.A.
a Sufi musician, "making an altar out of our
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
does it mean to listen to a voice before it is spoken?
making space for the other, being aware of the other, paying
to the other, honoring the other. It means not rushing
to fill their
silences with fearful speech of our own and not trying to
into saying the things that we want to hear. It means
empathetically into their world so that he or she perceives
someone who has the promise of being able to hear another
Parker J. Palmer
The Courage to Teach
Attentive listening is never an easy task--it consumes
at a rate that tires and surprises me. But it is made
easier when I am
holding back my own authoritative impulses. When I
suspend, for just
a while, my inner chatter about what I am going to say next,
room within myself to receive the external conversation.
One thing which makes us find so few
people who appear reasonable and
agreeable in conversation is, that there is scarcely anyone
who does not think
more of what they are about to say than of answering
precisely what is said
to them. The cleverest and most complaisant people content
with merely showing an attentive countenance, while we can
see in their eyes
and minds a wandering from what is said to them, and an
impatience to return
to what they wish to say; instead of reflecting that it is a
bad method of
pleasing or persuading others to be so studious of pleasing
that listening well and answering well is one of the
perfections that can be attained in conversation.
Duc de la Rochefoucauld
listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being
beneath the words. You listen not only to the
"music," but to the
essence of the person speaking. You listen not only
someone knows, but for what he or she is. Ears operate
speed of sound, which is far slower than the speed of light
eyes take in. Generative listening is the art of
silences in yourself, so you can slow your mind's hearing to
ears' natural speed, and hear beneath the words to their
When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving me advice, you have not
done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel
that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve
my problems, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I asked was that you listen, not talk or do. . . just hear
And I can do for myself. I'm not helpless. Maybe discouraged and
faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you
contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how
irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about this
business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.
And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.
Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes, for some people. . . because God
is mute and doesn't give advice or try to fix things.
God just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.
So please listen and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn. . . and I'll listen to
is a very active awareness of the coming together of at
two lives. Listening, as far as I'm concerned, is certainly
of love. One of the most essential ways of saying 'I love
is being a receptive listener.
is a rare happening among human beings. You cannot
to the word another is speaking if you are preoccupied with
appearance, or with impressing the other, or are trying to
you are going to say when the other stops talking, or are
about whether what is being said is true or relevant or
matters have their place, but only after listening to the
word as the word
is being uttered. Listening is a primitive act of love
in which a person
gives him- or herself to another's word, making oneself
accessible and vulnerable to that word.
Friend's Journal (a Quaker monthly)
science shows us that no two things can take up the same
space at the same time. So it is with listening.
You cannot think
and listen; read and listen; day dream and listen; write and
agree, disagree, argue, interpret, mind read, rehearse,
placate, or even listen and listen. Listening
requires our full and
focused attention on the other person. Real listening
honors people. Authentic Listening can actually heal
John Milton Fogg