Mindful Listening can and will improve listening skills

Improve listening skills with Mindful Meditation

Communication requires listening and responding to verbal and non-verbal clues. All too often what we hear and what others are saying is completely at odds. One approach is to practice mindful listening in all aspects of our routine. With practice, we can improve listening skills and become more skilled at conveying our thoughts to others.

What is mindful listening? Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. People talking, listening skills with Mindful Meditation

The goal of mindful listening is to silence the internal noise of your own thoughts, so that you can hear the whole message, and so that the speaker feels understood.
Step back from your own emotions and don’t spend the time planning what to say next. You can’t rehearse and listen at the same time. Think only about what the other person is saying.

Our questions lead people in directions that have nothing to do with where they thought they were going. Sometimes we work our way back to the original topic, but very often we don’t. When you notice that your question has led the speaker astray, take responsibility for getting the conversation back on track.

Communication Skills

Some tips: Sit up straight or lean forward slightly toward the speaker. Maintain eye contact and minimize external distractions. Focus on what the speaker is saying. Try not to think about what you are going to say next. Minimize internal distractions. If your own thoughts keep horning in, simply let them go and continuously re-focus your attention on the speaker, much as you would during meditation. Keep an open mind. Try not to make assumptions about what the speaker is thinking.

Mindless versus Mindful listening can sometimes make a lot of difference. The video is a little over the top, but can you identify wth it? How many times, just today, have you been distracted by someone demanding your attention when you are just trying to get caught up on FaceBook or one of the other social networks?

You can listen mindfully by:

  • creating a space to receive what the other person is saying
  • listening to more than the informational content of what they are saying
  • listening to everything, including how they are speaking, their tone, the emotional content, the energy behind what they are saying and their body language
  • listening with your whole body; your ears, your eyes and your heart or inner body awareness

Guided MeditationsGuided Meditations

Guided meditations are a great way to practice Mindful Listening. After all, what are we doing as we LISTEN to this type of meditation? And now, the secret is out. You have been practicing Mindful Listening all along, without any thought or effort.

Guided Mindful Listening Meditation This will guide you thru a mindful Listening practice. Don’t be concerned if your thoughts wander, simply follow thru and get the understanding and basics to put into practice.

Practicing with Music

Listen without any pre-judgement and listen with a focus on what you are hearing. These may or may not be your particular styles or music that you listen to. Listen simply and mindfully. Focus only on what you are hearing, no judgements, no evaluations.

Any genre of music can be listened to mindfully. There is no special position, no set rules. Just listen in the moment, allowing yourself to be one with the different sounds and experience.

 

Conclusion

Mindful listening can and will improve your listening skills. It will also enhance the pleasure of music and can bring more enjoyment to guided meditations. You may find that others seek you out just to talk, knowing that you are a good listener and that people are more willing to show you the same courtesy when it is your time to speak.

A good friend, Dave, has a great blog about Headphones for Binaural Beats, Self-Hypnosis, and Subliminal Messaging. He provides some history and some examples that I am sure you will find interesting.

I’ve listened to Young Old Soul many times, I havn’t found any subliminal messages but maybe you will have better luck. If you do, please let me know, I may need to invest in some better headphones!

If you have any questions or thoughts on Mindful Listening, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can!

 

Walking the Path of Peace,

Sanders

relaxationandmeditationmusic.com

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One thought on “Mindful Listening can and will improve listening skills

  1. Emmeline

    May 28, 2018 at 1:54am

    I love the perspective you bring up, connecting the way people have conversations to the way people listen to music. I listen to meditation music often but had never thought of it that way. Next time I will try harder not to analyze musical elements, genre or instrumentation. By doing so I am probably missing so many other things, the same way that people often miss what other people are truly saying. Thanks for the new perspective 🙂

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 28, 2018 at 2:24am

      Emmeline, Thank you. So glad that you like to listen to meditation music. The idea of being in the moment doesn’t mean you have to try. Just relax and let it be. It is great to listen to others without all the things we bring inside ourselves. Sometimes, we learn more just from the sound of the voice than the words being said.
      Walk in the Path of Peace,
      Sanders

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  2. LYNNE

    May 28, 2018 at 10:31am

    Hi Sanders, This post had a lot of great ideas how to just relax and focus on what other people are really saying. It reminds me of a saying that I read a while back and still find to be true … People listen to respond, not to understand. This phrase holds very true with my oldest teenage daughter. Her goal is to simply have the upper hand in a “conversation” but it just boils down to her not being able to release her defense mechanisms and thoughts to really hear and understand what I’m saying. If only I could infuse this post of yours into her mind!

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 28, 2018 at 11:48am

      Lynne, Thanks for commenting. You are 100% correct, we listen while prepping our responses. My daughter just hates silence, has to be talking and cannot lose an argument. I think that is a teen girl problem in todays world. I ask for mine’s input on short meditations. Add in some mindfulness, it may take some time to kick in.
      Walk in the Path of Peace
      Sanders

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  3. Dave

    May 29, 2018 at 2:58am

    Hallo there,

    I have been really trying to improve my listening skills and I didn’t now that mindfulness meditation does help in this area.

    The way you explain things as well as the steps you have offered in putting the practice really gives me deep insights into where I have been going wrong.

    I will be stopping by again to get even more understanding of it. Thanks.

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 29, 2018 at 3:57am

      Hi Dave, Thanks for stopping by and glad that I can provide you with some insights. I think we all can benefit from listening better and is a skill that can always be improved. The good news is there really is not a wrong way to listen, just sometimes we need to be better at it.

      Walking the Path of Peace,

      Sanders

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  4. Joo

    May 29, 2018 at 4:30am

    Thank you for the great reminder on mindful listening! It is so true that we should silence our own inner voice when listening to another person, and not be planning what we want to say next. I’m so guilty of these! If only we could focus on the other party, and remember it’s not about us, it’s about this other person, then we can really hear his/her heart and soul.

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 29, 2018 at 5:09am

      Joo,
      You are so very welcome. Listening in the moment also means letting go of the guilt about how we listened in the past. Just focus on the now. I think it is a win-win type of thing. The other person is really heard and we get to really hear.
      Walking the Path of Peace
      Sanders

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  5. vivek

    May 29, 2018 at 5:30am

    I’m a huge fan of guided meditation. It helps with midnful listening as well as you rightly point out. I think an underrated part of listening mindfully is empathy.
    You need to care about the person you’re listening to and understand their thoughts are important to them. Too often we just do the bare minimum and skate by.

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 29, 2018 at 11:52pm

      Vivek, You are so right. empathy is a mindset sadly lacking in a lot of people. Caring about someone makes up a part of listening, being able to by-pass our own emotions and baggage when dealing with anyone and everyone is truly being in the present and truly listening. You have brought up a great point, empathy, and have given me something to look at more closely in my own life. Thank you!
      Walking in the Path of Peace,
      Sanders

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  6. Melinda

    May 29, 2018 at 9:56am

    I’ve just started listening to binaural beats and found the concept rather fascinating. I didn’t realize that mindful listening can and will improve listening skills!

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 30, 2018 at 12:01am

      Hi Melinda,
      Binaural beats are fascinating. Some say they are effective and some say differently. I know that they are effective for me and have had some positive results on my teenagers’ study habits. The great thing is that using binaural beats with mindful listening, you can work on two areas at the same time. Maybe we should start using Mindful Multi-Tasking in our daily lives.
      Walking in the Path of Peace,
      Sanders

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  7. Johanny

    May 29, 2018 at 2:28pm

    Hi Sanders, such a great informational post! I am always looking for ways to improve my listening skills since I struggle a lot with concentration. Thank you for the fresh perspective and insight!

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 29, 2018 at 5:02pm

      Johanny, Glad you found this post interesting. If you have some concentration concerns, let me suggest another post you may find interesting in the Tool Box.
      Thanks and Walk in the Path of Peace,
      Sanders

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  8. Dave

    May 29, 2018 at 7:19pm

    Sanders, that’s a great post. I watched the video that you linked and it reminded me of Tibetan bowl meditation sounds/music. Strangely enough, I found myself today being called for jury duty and I had HOURS to sit and wait to be processed, so I downloaded the video to my smartphone and just closed my eyes and relaxed all morning listening to it. Thanks for this!

    I really enjoy mindful listening and relaxing as I tend to have an over-active mind, so it’s difficult to slow, so I can listen mindfully to sounds to calm it.

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    • Author

      Sanders Whitley

      May 30, 2018 at 12:33am

      Hi Dave, I had to go and listen to a Tibetan Bowl music video I have to refresh my memory. It is one of the longer ones, about 6 hours, and I got a little caught up in it. But I did get focused! Mindful listening at the Courthouse? That is something that needs to be looked at a little closer.
      I have found that sometimes just allowing the mind to run itself down can be relaxing. Kind of like allowing a two year old to have his tantrum without interference. It may be a ugly storm but the peace afterwards is fantastic.
      Walking in the Path of Peace,
      Sanders

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