The Arts of - Listening


The art of listening


I had a beautiful experience a few weeks back: I had lunch with a lovely artist friend. She is one who does a lot of research of her new work in tapestries before she begins to start the actual piece. I was talking about my experiences from writing my book, for myself, on my life. I noticed almost immediately, that something was different; she was actually listening to what I had to say. She asked questions when she needed clarification, made comments on my logic, and I felt was genuinely interested in what I had to say. The communication helped me clarify and feel more confident in what I was trying to say. There was no combative or negation of my opinion, no right or wrong, just understanding; food for my next nights thinking.


I talked to another artist friend about my experience that helped me understand what had transpired. I made another luncheon date but this time I was going to ask her some questions about her life and work; I was going to, “just listen “, as she had done for me. When we were done, I asked her how I did listening; she replied “I give you a 10 out of ten”. I learned so much from that discussion.


It was wonderful just listening and understanding what someone else thought, believed, and had experienced. I did not feel that I had to accept, for myself, what she had said; I could take and expand my concept of the issue with her perception. If I could not reconcile her concept with my understanding of the continuance of values, then I had to dig deeper into my understanding of the subject until I could expand my thinking to include both. This might mean asking more questions to her to clarify her position.


So what is the art of listening?


 It starts with hearing what is being said in its entirety; not thinking about your response so that your attention closes out the rest of what you assume is going to be said. I could tell by her eyes, when my words triggered off something in her mind, and I learned that she was actually thinking whether she understood what I was saying. I could stop talking and wait until she returned, usually with one of her “help me understand better” questions. Her questions would usually bring me to thinking about what was my view below the surface of what I had said and needed a better explanation both for myself and for her.

So, the art of listening includes not only hearing, but listening to all that was said, then communicating what you understood and asking for clarification when needed. The final step is to realize and enjoy that you have learned something about the other person.


Find quote on not taking on someone else’s position.


continuance of values – my belief – the art of belief


asking more questions  Plato – teaching by questions


nights thinking - the art thinking  link