Listening and learning

May 29, 2007 at 1:24 am | Posted in Pearls of wisdom | 1 Comment

(Thanks to the universe and to the writer for this article, which i think is absolutely essential for me to keep in mind, especially in my work of counselling.)

Listening and Learning


I have recently been involved in a fairly difficult relationship with someone who would not listen to me. No matter how I tried to explain my position and defend myself, they would not or could not agree with me or even acknowledge me. I was very distressed because I thought I was communicating my position quite clearly. Then, as I was explaining the situation to a friend and complaining about it my friend said quietly, ‘Maybe you need to listen to him.’ I was shocked. This wasn’t someone else’s lesson, but mine. I thought that I was being the teacher but I was actually the student. The lesson for me was to listen more and talk less so that I could learn what I needed to from this person.

We can be so busy with trying to help others with their lessons that we forget we have lessons to learn too and we learn them from the people we interact with. In addition to being spiritual teachers, we are also students. The most difficult people in our lives often have the greatest lessons to teach us. If we are focused on what we teach others we can forget that these are often opportunities for us to learn But when we’re involved in a lesson, especially one in which we feel that we need to defend ourselves or be heard, we can spend so much time talking and teaching that we forget that there are times when we need to learn to listen and learn.

It is easy to resist the lessons that we need to learn because they often come in the form of a challenge to our beliefs, integrity or truth. When we become so involved in the lesson that it becomes a distraction in our life, it is a signal to us that we need to become quiet and listen. Does the other person have something to say that we need to hear, even if it is difficult for us? Are they trying to help us shift our own energy and way of doing things? Is this an opportunity for us to learn something that we can only learn by going through this experience with this person?

Things are moving very quickly now and the opportunities for us to shift our own energy are all around us. Our opportunities for change are not always obvious but we are being called to open our hearts to others and to ourselves, to embrace the shifting energy and to learn new ways of relating to ourselves and to others. These lessons are brought to us through other people and when we recognize them we can learn our own lessons and move forward on our path. Situations where we feel that we need to talk more to get our point across are often opportunities for us to listen and learn.

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  1. One of my favorite lessons from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is ” Seek first to understand, then be understood”. So absolutely true but still difficult to do.


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