Personal Empowerment & Leadership Skills
Active and Deep Listening
The heart of good communication is a simple but profound capacity to listen. Listening requires we not only hear the words, but also embrace, accept, and gradually let go of our own inner clamouring. As we explore it, we discover that listening is an expansive activity. It gives us a way to perceive more directly the ways we participate in the world around us.
But listening, a subject we often take for granted, is very hard to do, and we are rarely prepared for it. Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, put the challenge this way:
To listen, then, is to develop an inner silence. This is not a familiar habit for most of us. We often pay great attention to what is going on inside us, when actually what is required is a kind of disciplined self-forgetting. We must create a space in which listening can occur.
Learning to listen begins with recognizing how you are listening now. Generally, we are not all that conscious of how we listen. You can begin to listen by listening first to yourself and to your own reactions. Try to identify what you feel more carefully and directly. Beginning with the perception of your own feelings connects you to your heart and to the heart of your experience. To learn to be present, we must learn to notice what we are feeling now.
Krishnamurti (May 12, 1895–February 17, 1986)
was a popular writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects.
His subject matter included (but was not limited to): the purpose of
meditation, human relationships, and how to enact positive change in
The concept of nonviolence (ahimsa) and nonresistance
has a long history in Indian religious thought. Gandhi was the first
to apply it in political field on a huge scale.