I was leading a workshop not too long ago with a group of folks who were highly engaged and committed to understanding the material I was presenting and applying it to their lives and better themselves.

As the lecture grew to a climax… I paused for a moment and became suddenly aware of an almost piercing silence in the room.  As I locked eyes with several of the folks… I could feel their intense focused attention.  They were open… connected and listening so very intently that it created an atmosphere… a feeling in the room that seemed to pull the words from my mind and mouth… from my God consciousness… and transform them into possibilities and answers existing in the room with us.  

Much of what I was saying at that moment, I had said before and was a reconstructed reflection of what I had heard them say… but the way they were listening literally drew the diamonds from the moment. 

I left the workshop that day feeling empowered, in service and aligned with an overall feeling of positive connection and making a real contribution with the group.

A week or so later, I was in a session with an individual who was having a bad day… really… a bad couple of months.  The same need for answers and new possibilities was required and she knew it, but she was also stressed and distracted by other things.

Her eyes kept diverting to the sounds coming through on her phone and with each new text or message her attention drifted further away from the point of our session.

She would glance up at me and nod “uh-huh”… but it was easy for me to see that she was only half present… at best!  Even though I was as passionate as I could be about the topic we were on and in the knowing that my words could help her, with her attention drawn this way and that, I started losing track of the core purpose and intensity of our conversation.  I also noticed I was censoring my thoughts and I pulled back from sharing anything too personal… And I began looking for a way to make an early exit.

How could this be??  Just a short time earlier I felt like a Wayne Dyer in front of an entire group of people… and now, here I am with a single person and I’m like a drowning, off key, singing act waiting for the “set” to end. 

At that very moment… I realized that how we listen not only determines what we hear… it also powerfully impacts what is said.

In our lives and the environment… we live in today… we have so much happening and competing for our attention… and that includes our own thoughts… that society has even coined a term “white noise” for the things we hear and automatically tune out.   But, are we tuning out so much that we’re not listening at all??

Haven’t we all heard:  “we have 2 ears and 1 mouth, so we should listen more than we say?”  That statement was said by the philosopher Zeno… who was the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy around 300 BC.   Based on  the moral ideas of the Cynics, Stoicism laid great emphasis -on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of Virtue in accordance with Nature.  And listening was one of the keys to be able to live a life in goodness and peace.  True in depth listening has been something that humans have been aware of for a very long time…

Before around 3200BC (that was when writing was first known to be used by Sumerians and Egyptians), listening and then repeating back what was said was the primary way we shared and communicated knowledge. With no way for us to replay or cut and paste or record and save the essence or message someone was speaking, we had no choice  but to bring our full presence to the moment and to listen closely!

In modern times, the average human speaks at a rate of 100-200 words per minute.  Something I find very interesting, we can hear at a rate of 400-600 words per minute… and we actually think 1-3000 words per minute. The difference between talking and listening speeds shows us we are physiologically set up to listen more than to talk, and the fact that our thoughts  move 3-5 times faster than our words suggests that there’s a huge space for our mind to wander if we aren’t fully engaged with what is being said.                                                                                       

WE ARE CREATED TO BE LISTENERS. 

Communication has three components.  There is the sender, the message, and the receiver.                                                                           

Or to make an analogy to football:  think of the quarterback as the sender, the football is the message, and the tight end/halfback/etc. is the receiver.  

But what happens when you don’t have a receiver? The message falls flat and you won’t move the ball, let alone make a touchdown or field goal.  Like football, communication is a team effort and can’t be done in a vacuum.  There are many, many reasons why we don’t listen…. But it boils down to not being in the now.

We might assume that the sender must be another person.  That isn’t necessarily so… The sender can be many different things…. 

Spirit is always sending messages that we don’t recognize  or pick up on.   We have our bodies…not only the physical component but also includes the emotional, intuitional, and our heart.

Then we have messages or signals coming from others… even if they are not speaking a single word. 

We are given messages from nature and the animal kingdoms.  What is global warming saying to us?  How about the floods, hurricanes, droughts… And on and on and on…

Silence can bring the greatest messages.

The message can be anything as well.  It could be encouragement… Love… support… Warnings… needed information…. Truths…. dis ease.

And… the message, in and of itself, may not be as important as the interaction between the other two components… the sender and receiver.  

The receiver is YOU.  Are you listening??? The receiver is crucial.  Your intention is needed… you must be prepared and ready to listen.  Focus!! We must be in the present!!  In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle gives some great guidance and exercises on being in the now.  If you are not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, then you can concentrate on being totally present.   If you are not in the past or worrying about tomorrow… how often can we truly say we are in the now???

Listen with your entire being.  Listen with your eyes!! Listen with your eyes!!  Look at the sender and see the message.  Pick up visual clues.  Mediumship relies heavily on this… Do you see tenseness??  Happiness?  Sorrow? Are they looking at you right in your eyes? This is part of the message they are conveying. 

Listen with your power of perceiving odors or scents… What are you picking up?  It is said you can smell fear… Can you pick up odors like perspiration, alcohol, perfume… these are all messages.  Spirit gives aromas to let us know certain things we associate with those aromas. I’ve lost family members to cancer because of cigarettes… when I smell that scent… I know that my client has lost someone due to cancer… Most likely a parent. That is a powerful message and affirmation that their loved one is present…

 Listen with your sensory perception.  Is the air dense?  Thick?  Sour?  What do you pick up… Fear?  Agitation?  Peacefulness?  Calm?  What surrounds you in a store, at a party, in a restaurant?  In an elevator?  We can sense things that we would not know otherwise.  Have you ever just felt a physical chill? Became tired and sleepy suddenly??   All these perceptions and feelings are communicating to you…

Listen with your feelings… What are they telling you? Are your preconceived ideas/judgment getting in the way? How are they affecting the message? How about that churning in your stomach when something doesn’t feel just right?  Remember the racing of your heart or pulse when someone special walks into the room?!   

A very important communication is physical pain or illness… What is our body telling us… actually shouting at us through our dis comfort and dis ease?

Listen to pauses and hesitations… silence is not only golden but can speak volumes!!

Listen with your heart… it is more than an organ…  This is the seat of your soul… your higher self, the real you minus your analytical ego… Here is where you hear your truth…  If you know how to listen!   Here is where you hear God.

Learn to listen with your entire being… Practice in the silence and stillness of life… complete silence and only with our self… this is a place where some of us are not so comfortable. 

French philosopher Blaise Pascal,  said  “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly  in a room alone.”

So often we think we are listening or seeing… and we are not.  We are being told that we need to see beyond our own limitations and judgments.  Once we are opened and focused in the NOW… we will be amazed at what is being communicated to us.  When we truly listen….We will be surprised at what we hear.

This is the Chinese written character for “To Listen” and it is made of several other characters, the ear being only one of them.

Imagine what we might start to hear and what we could evoke in the speaking of those who are sharing with us if we truly and wholly engaged with our heart, with our eyes, with our undivided attention – with all people – when we listened to another.

Imagine… just imagine… if, instead of listening for right or wrong, good or bad… making judgments… or listening for where we can interrupt the conversation in order to make our own point… What if we listened intently to really understand the other person… to find alignment and shared values… to hear what is really truth, what their deep commitments or what inspired thoughts are beneath their words which is what is truly trying to come out.

May I ask you to consider that as you enter into different conversations today, take some time to observe how you are engaging as a listener. Are you present or mentally wandering? What are you really paying attention to?

Be aware of how your listening impacts the person speaking and see what happens when you bring yourself fully to that space… and listen for “the diamonds” in what they are saying.

It truly will enrich your life…