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. 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.
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 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.
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,