Listening is a skill that is not practiced much these days. Look at politics, religion, culture. Even with all of the ways we have to communicate, we just don’t value listening any more. We’re so busy TELLING, we don’t have the silence in which to listen. I believe that we are afraid. Of what, it’s hard to say. If we’re shouting as loud as we can all the time, always insisting that, “I’m right, and you’re wrong!”, then we have this convoluted belief that nobody will find out how terrified we are.
I can hear the guys all puffing up, blustering, “ I ain’t afraid of a goddamn thing!” Yeah, Brother, I been there. It don’t change the fact that the role of men has changed so much that none of us knows what the hell to do anymore. Frankly, I believe women are in the same place in human culture. Things change fast. Jobs are hard to come by, relationships are difficult, everything gets more expensive. The life our parents led doesn’t exist anymore. When you only look at what you don’t have, there’s no wonder we’re all scared shitless. Thing of it is, we are looking at the wrong stuff. Let’s stop an listen for a while. And it is vital you listen to people, not sound and fury.
Once you are quiet yourself, then the “reality” of sound and fury begins to get more than a little thin. When you start to listen to people, then you start to hear things like, “I’m having trouble supporting my family. The things I was told aren’t true anymore, and I just don’t know what to do.” As we begin to listen to those words, then it’s less likely that the other stuff – blaming “others”, the anger, the political division – would develop. On the other side of that equation, if we would say those words, and then listen for an answer, we might actually hear, “ Here’s some help you might be interested in.”
Listening isn’t passive, though. You may have to do something to be able to hear over all the noise that we create. Yes, we do this to ourselves. Our Personal Mythology is what we use to create our Life. If that mythology is full of victimhood, prejudice, and bombast, then it gets tough to hear Love, Compassion, and Empathy. It’s even tougher to manifest those qualities.
I was listening to a debate on the radio the other day, and it was surprisingly civil. Frankly, that’s the only reason I listened. Once the shouting starts, my Bullshit meter goes off, and I change the stuff I listen to. That’s true even if I agree with the subject. Volume doesn’t add much to a debate. The point, is though, the folks still weren’t listening. They had well-packaged sound bites and talking points, which both debaters had heard before. They said as much. The discussion then turned to, “We get to this point, and our beliefs just don’t let us go any farther”. When you insist that your way is the only way, that’s what happens. It seems that we are not confident enough in our God (Insert your choice of Deity here.), our fellow man and woman, or ourselves. “Oh, I have plenty of faith! It’s that other person that’s the problem!” Maybe that’s true. Maybe not. And before you think I’m picking on any particular group here, I have to admit you’re right. The group that causes all the trouble is…ALL of us.
Unconditional Love is the answer to all this mess. It ain’t an easy answer, mind you. But as messy as it can be, it works. Somebody has to go first. I’m willing. Are you?
REMEMBER – I AM Loving Unconditionally. I AM Listening quietly.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by The Season of Nonviolence.
Peace, Grace, & Love,