Listening Uncritically

It is the privilege of wisdom to listen. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., physician, writer

About twenty years ago when doing some deep inner work, I became aware that I talked a lot, an awful lot, often reactively anxious, sometimes because I thought I needed to say something about everything, sometimes not even breathing. I decided to experiment and shut my mouth. Deliberately. Consciously. For about a year, I practiced inhibiting my urge to speak on every subject. It changed my life. 

Cultivating the habit of listening uncritically and without premature judgments is such a positive mindful habit. When we are present to our bodies, conscious of our breathing, listening to our minds, we are actually in meditation. When grounded and balanced in this way, listening is so different. When we are quiet, we can hear our thoughts, which ones we are listening to, and then what we hear outside our heads, what someone else is saying. 

Try being still right now. Just stop. Listen to what you think you hear, inside or out. See what happens in that pause. Practice pausing more, listening more. 

Oh, how much more peaceful it’s been not to have something to say on every subject. And oh, how much I have learned and grown wise. Listening well is humbling.    

We have to listen to understand in the same way we want to be understood.

Brené Brown