Listening is powerful.
Nonviolent communication. a methodology developed by psychologist and author Marshall Rosenberg, suggests that high-quality listening involves putting our agendas aside and focusing on the feelings and needs within what another person says. The approach says we form potent connections when we tap into that vital internal information in others. It can be healing and disarming.
As I’ve been dabbling with this kind of higher-level listening lately (it’s been…messy), another form popped up as worth talking about, too: Listening within.
I love the idea of listening to one’s body/gut/intuition/instincts — call it what you want.
This is something I continue to investigate and I’m sure there are many approaches. Here what I’ve gathered so far:
First, like external listening, internal listening starts with setting one’s agenda aside. Planning, analyzing and contemplating don’t do it. This isn’t a thinking thing; it’s a feeling thing.
I think of it as stepping out of "thinking faculties" and into "feeling faculties." It’s about tuning into physical sensation.
Meditation is a good place to play with this. You might direct attention to one part of your body, do a scan or bring your whole body into your feeling focus. Sometimes I softly repeat the word "feel" in my mind to help me stay attuned. Of course, I get distracted more than I like to admit, but I try to kindly refocus, over and over again.
This practice may not churn up daily life-altering revelations, but I did have one profound experience.
A few years ago, while knee-deep in this kind of practice the answer to a question that I had been agonizing over for years was suddenly clear as day.
Some painful stuff happened from there, but as I sit here now, I can say I’m in the light on the other side.
I haven’t had any major flashes of insight since that day. But internal listening builds a connection in the same way that listening intently to others forms a bond. It’s healthy and beneficial, if not earth-shattering. It says, “I care,” provides an outlet for information that needs release and creates more compassion and understanding.
Give it a try. You may check out a guided meditation I’ve added to the “free stuff” tab on my website, marcisharif.com. Either way, listen.