Reflection on Listening

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February 16, 2011

Three times in one day, I was reminded of the need to listen. Worship in the morning focused on listening for God's voice, trying to calm our own voices and chattering to hear what God says.

Later, a social gathering with voices overlapping in a crowd of people needing to talk told me the importance of having someone to listen and the human need to express one's voice and be heard.

In the evening, quietly reading, I came across a concept I'd seen before: listening someone to speech. Active listening not only responds to speech, but can actually prompt or pull out voices that are usually not heard.

What is active listening? It involves listening with all of my conscious thought, setting aside my tendency to find answers and plan my next response. It means showing that I'm listening with my body, turning away from the computer screen and towards the person who speaks. It means asking real and open questions, the answers to which I really want to know and which help the speaker to think in new ways, rather than become defensive or frustrated.

How do I need to listen today?
 

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