Mindful listening is when you are not thinking and you remain fully present whilst the other person is speaking.
There are many occasions in the course of daily life, at home and at work, when talking is an exchange of information, and this is entirely appropriate as is a thought-based response.
But we are emotional and spiritual beings and we need to express what we are feeling as well as what we are thinking.
In my experience, mindful listening is a powerful mindfulness practise that benefits the person speaking and the person listening.
The speaker feels listened to and knows that they have been listened to, and the listener gains far deeper insight into what the speaker really means.
I have also found that rather than thinking about what to say I can often communicate more appropriately and more directly by looking within myself for a mindful response.
How to listen mindfully
The dynamics of mindful listening differ from “normal” listening in several important respects:
# You are not mentally processing what the other person is saying and working out what you are going to say next.
# You listen with full attention in a state of mindfulness – you are creating a space to receive what the other person is saying.
# You are listening to more than the informational content of what they are saying.
# You listen to everything the other person is saying. This includes listening to how they are speaking, their tone, the emotional content, the energy behind what they are saying and their body language.
# You listen with your whole body. As well as using your ears, you use your eyes and your heart or inner body awareness.
# When they have finished speaking, you pause before saying anything and then briefly acknowledge what they have said without passing comment or judgment.
# You only respond any further if you have an inner sense of something you want to share in response – it is not what you think.