The world has become a noisy place, and for most of us, the best way to deal with that is to not listen to 80% of what we hear. We think that by filtering out the information we receive, we will be able to deal better with what is in front of us and save ourselves time and effort. We assume that most of what we hear is either not relevant to us or we already know what the other person is talking about. We couldn’t be more wrong.
If We Think Listening is an Option, We Don’t Always Listen
Listening is a thoroughly misunderstood action. Listening is not an option, it is a survival need. This is because the moment we start talking to somebody, when we don’t have listening, we start coming to some conclusions which are based on our past perceptions of that person and the subject of conversation. This makes us misunderstand people and situations. Both lead to suffering.
For genuine listening to happen it is important to be attentive to what is being said and cognize it without the interference of incompletions. Incompletion is anything from the past that is sitting in our present and affecting our future. Most of us perceive and cognize life only through the filter of the past experiences, and miss out on life as it is happening in reality.
For eg, when someone tells us that they are busy, we may come to our own conclusions like “He is avoiding talking to me,” “He is unhappy with me,” “She does not care about what I want” etc. But the reality may be that the person has a deadline in the next 15 minutes, is stressed about it and hence is saying that he or she is busy.
How to Not Create Problems in Life
When authentic listening starts, not only do we solve most of our problems in life, we don’t create many problems to begin with. As in the quoted example, the problem of a misunderstanding would not begin in the first place if we consciously listen to the other person. Listening is a simple decision. Many people wonder what is the right way to listen to the other person. It is very simple and intuitive. Listening to the other means giving your undivided attention to the person, without letting your mind wander off to some other subject or your previous perceptions about the person or the subject.
When authentic listening starts happening, we can listen to not just the words of the other person, but also their emotions and thoughts.
Will it Filter Out the Noise?
To filter out the noise of the world, listening is a powerful tool. Because only with listening we begin to realize that the noise is really in our own minds, not outside. When we begin authentically listening to other people and our own selves, the noise inside as well as outside comes down and things start looking simple, the way they are.