Sometimes it is difficult to listen to others and really hear what they are saying.
But with practice listening skills can be perfected and enormous benefits can come from this.
But something even more difficult for most of us, however, is the skill of listening to ourselves.
It’s easy enough to hear what you say - hearing yourself speak – but sometimes even this can be embarrassing.
For instance the automatic ”funny” remark made to your boss’s boss or to someone you don’t know can sometimes leave you wondering and perhaps agonizing about - “what did I just say”?
Listening to ourselves however has less to do with speaking and a lot more to do with feelings and emotions.
What these feelings and emotions are saying can be hard to hear and most times difficult to understand.
Usually there are many conversations going on in our heads about what to
do, how to do it, who to meet, what to say, how to say it, what should
have been done, why it wasn’t done and on and on.
These conversations with ourselves can sometimes be a lot more than just “background noise “as they can determine our moods, color our outlook on life and many times lead to automatic decision making – doing what we always did.
Even when you are tired the logical mind still seems to have enough energy to find something to talk about and it can often be very hard to drop the chatter and find a quiet peaceful place in your head.
But getting to a quiet peaceful place often enough, even for short periods, can help you find another voice one we don’t usually listen to – intuition.
Trying to hear our “inner voice” or finding our intuition is something most of us just don’t rate as practical or even useful.
It’s not really logical; it’s not something we were thought at school - not many teachers "made it" by telling us to rely on intuition for our exams!
But as we are dealing more and more with uncertainty and complexity the logical part of our minds can go into overdrive – too many things to process, not enough information to make a “sensible” decision.
It’s all this “noise” that often makes us rely on our habits – our learned responses to get us through.
But our brains are a lot more than just logical processing machines they are immensely complex and have two ways of dealing with the world.
The brain has two hemispheres connected by a communications structure (corpus callosum) and according to research each side of the brain is dominant at different tasks -
The left hemisphere of the brain is better at:
While the right hemisphere is better at:
education systems and our work organisation rely heavily on the "left
brain functions" and as a result we are more inclined to trust these
areas more than what might be considered the more “spiritual” or less
substantial functions of the "right brain."
However research is now beginning to uncover that the right side functions may not be as “insubstantial” as we might believe.
So how is it possible to develop the listening skills to become more aware of the functions that the right hemisphere of the brain is better at doing?
How I Found My Right Side
education and my profession were very “left side” biased so my listening skills were incomplete and the suggestion
to use mindfulness and meditation to access the “right side” functions
took some time to accept.
But using the left brain – being logical about it – would suggest that if you get used to quietening the “babble” of conversations in your head you will create a better chance of understanding how the right brain communicates with you.
I instinctively knew there was “something in” the use of mindfulness and meditation so I allowed my logical mind look at it like this –
And so it is with mindfulness – move away from all the conversations in your head – find a quiet place, breathe and start listening to yourself.
Insight – The Perfect Moment
My logical mind was also biased in the belief that intuition or special insights into life were something that happened to only a few people in some sort of sudden or dramatic way.
So if I was going to have an insight into life it had to be a sudden “flash” of knowledge – a “eureka” moment.
And this moment would come when I was at a place where my in-tray was
empty, my job was under control, my finances were in order, the kids
were all achieving effortlessly, my friends and relatives were all happy
and my new car was gleaming in the driveway.
So the special moment was always in the future.
But I began to see that by developing patience and trust and starting to look for moments of mindfulness in everyday life you begin to allow the right brain a space to communicate with you more easily.
The most important part of this listening skill is developing trust in what you “hear”.
This can take time but with patience and if what you “hear” persists you will begin to just know that it is meaningful.
To a left side “logical” brain it should also be significant to see that a trust in intuition and insight is beginning to be developed even in the logical and critical thinking world of business-
So developing the skills of listening to ourselves to "hear" what the whole brain is "saying" is of enormous benefit in our lives.