Updated: Nov 3
Listening for understanding is the art of choosing to arise out of the misperceptions of your ego-consciousness into the higher inclusive, loving, and healing perspective of your indwelling Spirit.
It's important to understand that we never listen to another person without coming from a perspective. So we are either choosing to listen to what the other person is saying from the perspective of our ego and taking guidance from that set of ideas and beliefs, or we are choosing to listen from the perspective of our spirit and allowing a higher and naturally healing perspective to guide us.
The perspective of the ego at its deepest core is anchored in pain, fear, and separation. So it is a guide that is automatically defensive and judgmental. When we listen from our ego we cannot truly connect. At best, we can commiserate and grow the pain-body of both(all) parties. From there the options get worse as we resist, argue, try to persuade, ignore, dismiss, withdraw, and/or judge. Clearly, none of these experiences is connection.
The perspective of spirit is anchored in love, inclusivity, forgiveness, and compassion. When we listen from spirit, are able to create a safe space for communication and connection to happen.
Listening for understanding does not require us to agree with what the other person is saying. The purpose of listening for understanding is just what it states - simply to attend to what the other person is saying from a place of genuinely wanting to understand how they're feeling, how their perception is working for them right now. And, to listen from a place of caring. This creates a type of connection that is healing and opens the door to miracles (shifts in consciousness.)
We all long for safe connection and loving acceptance. We want to be seen, accepted, and loved no matter what because I think we instinctively know that love heals all. Providing a safe space for another person to come out of the loneliness and pain of their current perception enables both people to experience the miracle of a shift in perception towards forgiveness and love.
Time and again, I’ve seen people move out of their painful conclusions, their rigid bias, or their hurtful interpretations when given an opportunity to just air them out and be accepted anyway. A kind of magic happens as the person is able to bring their perspective into the light of day in the presence of someone who is fully attending and listening to them. Its often as if a burden is lifted off their shoulders, or a veil is lifted from their mind. The experience of being heard is deeply moving and healing. It opens the heart which opens the mind.
And the magic goes both ways. The listener also experiences a miracle when they choose the higher perspective. They also experience growth. It feels like a miracle to be able to listen from an open, curious, and non-judgmental space. It’s so much calmer than the agitation and mental gymnastics the ego experiences. Turning to the spiritual perspective eases their own defensiveness and helps them move into new and better ways of thinking and feeling.
ACIM calls this experience a holy instant. And learning how to move into a holy instant builds holy relationships - meaning they are inclusive, connected, effective, and fulfilling.
If you’d like to learn how to listen for understanding, I hope you join me in my next Spiritually Centered Interpersonal comm class. Please contact me if you have any questions. I'd love to hear from you and learn more about how I might be of service to you.