Are you listening?

I attended an interesting workshop yesterday and got to talking with the workshop presenter afterwards. The aim of the workshop was to encourage people to listen, and apply the knowledge in their day to day lives.

So many times, we go about in our day to day lives and we are just not aware of things that go on around us. We say that we’re listening, but are you really listening?

It’s true what was said at the workshop: there is a difference between hearing and listening to something. Hearing can be likened to “going in one ear, and going out the other.” It goes through the conscious mind, but because we don’t pay attention to what we’re hearing, the information doesn’t get passed onto the subconscious mind, and hence, we’re not taking any action on it.

Listening on the other hand requires one to pay full attention to the other person. The presenter talked about acknowledging the other person, as a feedback mechanism to let them know that you are paying attention.

I like to think in pictures. So when he talked about acknowledgement, the stickperson diagram came to mind. And I started to see why most people tend not to listen when I see the diagram.

From a psychological point of view, understand that you have a primordial or the amygdala component to your brain, which operates up to 95% of the time; that’s what we refer to here as your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is very good at protecting you from the “mundanes of life” to ensure that you only pay attention to the dangers that lurk.

In essence, hearing is when we hear words and sounds, but we reject the ideas (in our conscious mind) because it’s not in harmony with our paradigms (with the subconscious mind or our current vibrational level). What we’re hearing doesn’t get past the primordial part of our brain, because we have been conditioned to ignore anything that’s not a threat to us OR isn’t aligned with our existing vibrational levels.

However, listening is when you force your conscious mind to comprehend what is being said, and you convert the words into images in your mind or feelings associated with the words. You’re forcibly bypassing your gatekeeper/primordial brain.

So, the next time you feel that someone’s not listening to you, don’t let your primordial brain take over and ignore what the other person is saying. Instead, why don’t you get them involved in the conversation? How do you do that? By paying attention to what they’re saying, thinking about it, acknowledging the other person’s opinion, but also ask them open ended questions about why they’re saying what they are saying? By doing so, you’re being in the moment. You’re vibrating at a particular frequency, and you’re “forcing” the other person to vibrate at a similar frequency as you connect to the other person.

This is the best form of communication where you’re no longer just listening to words, but you’re also listening with your vibration, “mashing in” with the other person’s vibration. It’s the “heart to heart” conversation, and that is what true listening is.

My challenge to you this week is to become aware of what you’re doing when someone says something to you. Instead of just hearing words, listen to what is being said. You may or may not agree but a form of acknowledgement such as “I agree” or “I don’t agree” is all you need to become aware of your subconscious mind and how fixated your paradigms really are. Then ask an open ended question of the other person.

When you do this, you will stop becoming bounded by your existing limitations, you will become more aware of your existing awareness levels, and you may just become a better communicator as well. When you’re able to be empathetic towards the other person, but also make them realise that there’s another way of solving their problems, you have just broken down their primordial brain, and you can begin to vibrate at the right frequency, together.

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