The Journey Continues – Listening to Understand


Today’s world, at least in the United States, is fast-paced. Most people feel like they’re always rushing from point A to point B; that there’s never enough time for all that Life is requiring of them; that they are on a freaking hamster wheel. (No offense meant to hamsters and the wheels they so enjoy.) Those feelings, in turn, cause many to feel like no one cares, no one is listening.

The truth is that most people aren’t listening. With cell phones and the Worldwide Web to distract them, Life around them just passes by with hardly a glance. People in younger generations never have had the opportunity to experience life at a slower pace without so much technology to distract them from real interactions with their fellow human beings. That was a time when we really got to know each other. Our communications were heartfelt, for the most part.

I remember a time when people were concerned about the distraction of alcohol and drugs causing car accidents. Now we have people on cell phones either talking or texting. On top of that, the car manufacturers, in all their wisdom, have built these distractions into the cars! And so, we move farther and father away from face-to-face interaction with each other.

Some of us actually find comfort in being able to hide behind the screens of our technology while actually feeling frustration and anger in having to deal with people face-to-face. In the safety and comfort of our isolation, we are now losing the ability to feel compassion and understanding. We no longer listen, when we do listen, to understand. We listen to respond.

Why is that? Why do we no longer listen to understand each other and only listen to respond? Perhaps the answer lies back at our hamster wheels. We feel unheard. We feel undervalued. So, it becomes a matter of self-importance and a deep-seated desire to be heard. We’re no longer listening to the meaning behind the words of the other person. We only care about letting them hear our response.

The joke really is on us – one and all. If we aren’t listening to understand, why in the name of heaven would we think the other person is doing any different? So, here we are, humanity talking at each other rather than to each other. Is there any wonder why there are so many misunderstandings going on? The world is filled with anger and hurt because we’ve ceased to really listen to each other so that we can begin to understand Life from another’s perspective.

It actually begins even deeper and more personal than our interaction, or lack thereof, with each other. It starts with our interaction with ourselves. Huh????? Yes, you heard me. How often do you listen to what’s going on inside of yourself? I know there are some who have connected with their inner child, their Higher Self, and anything else going on inside of themselves, but there are even more who avoid hearing that inner dialogue with every technological weapon they can find or any other distraction, including sleeping to escape.

In my experiences, both in my personal life and that of a spiritual counselor, I’ve run into folks who, while talking to someone on the phone, will be on their computer reading their email or scrolling through Facebook while having a radio, CD or some other form of music playing loudly in the background. Yes, yes. I get that multi-tasking is the “in” thing, but it’s also a way to drowned out the dialogue going on inside yourself. All that external distraction certainly keeps ones attention directed outward instead of inward. It overrides any possibility of the voice of our Higher Self from reaching us with anything important that might help us to regain our sense of self-worth.

This “listening to understand” is no different than anything else that needs changing in our lives…it begins with us. In order to be able to listen to others to understand where they are coming from, what their perspective is, the feelings behind the words, we first have to listen to our own internal dialogue and begin to understand what our feelings are and why we respond to life, people and situations the way we do. There just is no way we can gain any real understanding of others if we don’t first begin to understand ourselves.

Whether you want to believe it or not, the fact is that it is we alone who are the creators of our love, joy and sense of self-worth. Looking and living externally, in a search for approval, acceptance, and appreciation will always end up in disappointment. Yes, we can receive encouragement from others and we can give it as well, but, if each of us doesn’t take that and build on it for ourselves, all the encouragement in the world will do us no good if we still retain feelings of unworthiness within us.

It’s passed time to sincerely listen to understand….to ourselves and to others. It’s time to start an epidemic of compassion and understanding and let it spread around the world. What will it leave in its wake? HOPE. If we continue on a quest to listen to understand, to regain our compassion, we may just be able to find our way to peace, prosperity, health and happiness for ourselves and for the world. Isn’t that worth taking the time to slow down and really listen? Yeah, I think so too.

Journey Inward 2

Love & Blessed Be

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