January 3, 2016
We’re used to listening by comparing what’s being said to what we already think we know, from a place of agree or disagree. This is the beginning of the big divide.
The divide starts out small, with a little thought or idea that we casually throw out in response to someone else’s thought. But as it gets processed through the good/bad/right/wrong filter on both sides, it expands. Finally, it becomes a wall between individuals or groups. That’s where learning stops and the seeds of war or estrangement are planted.
The alternative is deep listening. Deep listening is simply listening to truly understand the speaker.
Next time you find yourself ready to challenge someone else’s idea because it differs from yours, take three deep breaths, letting all the air out on each outbreath. Then ask them to tell you more. Look for the tiniest point of agreement. Start there. Then, and only then, consider offering your opinion.