L is for Listening
I realise I've covered listening under E is for Ears, but it's too important a subject to not come back to it again and again.
However, rather than repeat myself, I want to share a short story which I feel illustrates the barriers to deep listening. It's my version of an older story. I've been telling it for so long, that I can't remember where it originally came from . . . so if you have a source for it, please let me know.
Story of 4 monksOnce there were four monks--novices who were setting out on their journey towards enlightenment. Their master instructed them on the art of meditation and set them the task of meditating in silence for a week.
That evening the four monks settled themselves in the meditation hall, with only a candle to illuminate the darkness. They closed their eyes and began to meditate.
"Hush!" the second monk whispered loudly, "you know we're not supposed to break our silence." It was only after he'd spoken that he too realised what he'd done.
Irritated by the interruption, the third monk shouted at the other two, "Quiet! you're distracting me, how can you expect me to meditate with all that noise you're making?" Then he too realised the error of his ways.
The fourth monk, who up until now had been quietly observing the others, could contain himself no longer, punching the air gleefully, "Yes! Yes! I've won, I've won."
Needless to say, the monks did not discover enlightenment that evening, but in time they learned to listen.
I'd love to hear your comments on the story or your experiences of listening and being listened to. Leave your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org