Someone very wise once told us - when you are talking, it is impossible to listen. And listening is often where all the real work is done. Now as student Ayurvedic practitioners, the need to master listening is critical to optimise patient care - and as it turns out, there is a real art to it. Effective listening is selfless and mindful - two things that are not often easy to achieve at the best of times, let alone down simultaneously. Through our constant interaction with our amazing clients and colleagues, we have learnt some listening skills that have not only improved our relationships professionally, but personally as well. Maybe it could be of help to you too, so below are the philosophical and practical ideas we are working on currently.
LISTENING IS NOT A PREEMPTIVE TASK
Quite often, we enter our interactions with others armed with our own agendas. This can be based on what we have heard about the person, what we think they want to talk to us about, our prior history with them or the nature of the conversation about to take place. But to truly listen is to drop our own thoughts and priorities and become present during our interactions with others. Often what we originally think is going to be said by the other person isn't correct, which in turn, can cloud our ability to bring any sense of truth to the situation at hand. If we allow the space to actually hear what a person is saying, then we can assist them in the way they require. And this may or may not be in alignment with our own ideas - which brings us to our next point...
LISTENING IS A SELFLESS ACT
Even if the conversation is about you or directed at you, it is not about you in that moment (in the nicest possible way). To talk is to express how you feel and convey a message, to listen is to allow the other person to do that. Talking over the top or interrupting the conversation, is ceasing the other person's right to say what they feel freely. Never forget that in that present moment that person has chosen to interact with you - it is a gift really. Not to say that you can't respond to them though - but we challenge you with an idea that we are currently practising, it works wonders. Allow 2 seconds to stop what your are doing before engaging with the person and then another 2 seconds before responding to what the person has said. Sometimes, you will find that the other person hasn't actually finished speaking or that your original knee-jerk response was in fact not one out of stillness but from the ego. In this short period of 2 seconds before speaking, it is amazing what wisdom you can cultivate.
LISTENING IS ABOUT BUILDING UPON WHAT IS OFFERED
Can you remember a time where someone has shared something with you - like the good news of a promotion or gift they have just received and as they are talking, in your mind you are remembering a time when you've experienced a similar thing? And usually in times like this, we enter the conversation with something like; "I remember when that happened to me" or "yeah, when my promotion happened I...." Now, some may call this sharing, but in fact its actually stealing the other persons experience. Firstly, as they were speaking, you were thinking of yourself and then in response, you detoured away from their story to make it about you. Now, no one does this maliciously, it is simply an act of habit and usually through not being present. Our second challenge to you - and to ourselves - is when you are listening to person's story, BUILD upon what is being offered to you. Ask how they felt when it happened, what the details were, what they did to celebrate. There are so many ways that we can be the support, friend or practitioner the person requires just by listening with presence and responding in a way that reflects...
LOVE - The universal love that connects us all as human beings.
Have a wonderful and mindful listening week.
With light and love,