Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Art of Listening

A friend loaned me a CD some time ago, and I was (am) about to give it back to her, not having had time to fully listened to it yet, but I think I should only keep people's property so long lest it thinks it actually belongs in my house. At any rate, I was looking it over and the following quote by J. Krishnamurti gave me something to think about, and something I needed to hear, so I thought I'd share it with you.

"There is an art of listening. To be able really to listen, one should abandon or put aside all prejudices, preformulations and daily activities... But unfotunately most of us listen through a screen of resistance. We are screened with prejudices, whether religious or spiritual, psychological or scientific; or with our daily worries, desires and fears. And with these for a screen, we listen. Therefore we listen really to our own noise, to our own sound, not to what is being said. It is extremely difficult to put aside our training, our prejudices, our inclination our resistance, and, reaching beyond the verbal expression, to listen so that we understand instantaneously."

Something to think about, isn't it?



Josh said...

I think that's a horrible way to listen: It discounts all the experiences that have made us who we are and brought us to where we are in terms of understanding sounds.

I think we have to be willing to accept that our preformulations might be wrong and our prejudices unfounded, but if we lived life as though we hadn't spent all these years learning anything, we'd be much different -- and much less interesting -- people.

Kelvin Ringold said...

Hi, Josh. I understand your point. The object of this piece, for me, is not to say that we should abandon our own learning and experiences, but rather we should not let them get in the way of hearing and understanding how the other person has interpreted their experiences, and the effect that interpretation has had on them.

One of my favorite Stephen Covey quotes is, "Seek first to understand..." then be understood. In my case, I have a tendency to filter what others say through my own experiences, etc., so I end up processing it through what I did, or how I would have handled it, or what it would have meant to me... rather than actively listening to what *it* actually means to the person trying to communicate with me.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Which reminds me, you have my Derek Truck CD, I think.