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The Art Of Listening

The art of listening

As a musician I have spent most of my life listening. When performing, not only do we listen to the notes themselves. We also listen to the space inbetween the notes. If our ego interferes, forcing the music in one direction or another, the natural flow of things will stop. On the other hand – when the music is allowed to flow naturally, no one is present. Music takes place and that is all. 

I do not think this is any different from each and everyone´s listening throughout the day. Each conversation is like an improvisation. We have no idea where it will take us, so we listen, trying to follow the natural flow of things. If we try to force the conversation a certain direction, we risk missing out on valuable details and nuances that eventually could have revealed something brand new and fresh. When we listen to another person speaking, who are we listening to? Are we listening to that which is behind the words, to where the words come from, or do we listen to the words themselves. Do we hear the other being, or do we hear our perception of the other? I guess we tend to do a little of both, but perhaps more often than not we hear our own perception. It is like everything else we experience through our senses. Someone cuts us off in traffic. Instantly our anger rises, “He did not do what he was supposed to do”. If we had been able to remove ourselves from the situation for a split second, we might have had the chance to discover the storyline behind the reaction. Perhaps he thought the speed limit was higher than it was? Perhaps his wife was giving birth? Perhaps he was hoping to arrive at his destination a few minutes earlier? Why do we feel it is all about us? Our reaction is merely our reaction. Something outside of us made us aware of something already lurking inside ourselves. If we find a way to make use of these situations as they occur in our day to day life, if we listen carefully, we might end up making some valuable discoveries.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

– Dalai Lama

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