How can one become a better listener?

Hare Krsna

The art of listening:
It is our experience that no matter how much we hear, we remain the same.
Actually, we have many tricks and devices not to listen. Let us understand them first.
The first trick is: we hear only that which we want to and not what is being said. With great cleverness we hear what lets us remain as we are; nothing goes in which may cause a change in us. This is not only the observation of the sages; scientists have also carried on research on the human mind say that ninety-eight percent of what we hear we do not take in.
Anything that synchronizes with your understanding cannot change you. It can only reinforce that understanding. Rather than transform you, it gives yet more stones and cement to strengthen your foundations.
The Hindu hears only what strengthens his Hindu mind; the Muslim hears only what strengthens the Muslim mind; so also the Sikh, the Christian, the Buddhist. If you listen only to strengthen your own preconceptions, to strengthen your own house, then you will miss hearing completely, for truth has no connection with Hindu or Muslim or Sikh. It has nothing to do with the conditioning of your mind.
Hearing a speaker, you tell yourself that he is correct when what he says is consistent with your thoughts. To other things, you say that it is not so because it disagrees with your thoughts. So you are not truly listening but only lend your ear to what agrees with you and strengthens your opinion. The rest, you don't care about, you ignore and forget. Even if you happen to hear something that is contrary to your understanding, you tear it to bits with your reasoning, because one thing you are sure of: whatever matches your thoughts is correct, what doesn't is incorrect, false.
While talking you are awake; while listening you are not. As soon as another person talks to you, you are no longer alert, but lost in an internal dialogue of your own. Then whom do you prefer to listen? Definitely to your own self, because the voice of the other person doesn't even reach you; your own voice is enough to drown out all the other voices.
He alone is capable of listening who has broken this conversation within. And that is the art of listening.

Hari Bol

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  • The art of listening is a profound skill that often eludes us. Despite our ability to hear, the act of truly listening involves more than the mere reception of sound. One prevalent obstacle to genuine listening is our inclination to hear only what aligns with our existing beliefs. We possess a remarkable capacity to filter out information that challenges our perspectives, safeguarding the status quo within us.

    Research on the human mind reveals that a staggering ninety-eight percent of what we hear fails to make a lasting impact. We tend to selectively absorb information that reinforces our preconceived notions. This tendency is not confined to any particular group; it extends across diverse backgrounds, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, or Buddhist. When we listen solely to affirm our own convictions, we miss the essence of truth, which transcends the boundaries of conditioned thinking.

    During conversations, we often validate or dismiss statements based on their alignment with our existing beliefs. This selective hearing not only hinders understanding but also fortifies the walls of our mental conditioning. The tendency to label information as correct or incorrect based on its agreement with our thoughts obstructs true listening.

    While speaking, we are fully awake and engaged, but the act of listening often finds us drifting into an internal dialogue. When someone speaks to us, we may appear attentive, yet our minds are preoccupied with our own thoughts. True listening requires breaking free from this internal conversation and being fully present to the speaker's words.

    The art of listening, therefore, involves transcending our inner dialogue, setting aside preconceptions, and opening ourselves to perspectives that may challenge our established beliefs. Only when we cultivate this capacity for deep listening can we genuinely absorb, understand, and grow from the diverse voices that surround us.

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