> Stage 2 Awareness: Listening To Ourselves

Listening To Ourselves

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.

Listening Skills

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

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.

But listening to your gut feelings can often ease the worry and tension that often surrounds decision making

Many Conversations

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.

What is intuition?

"Intuition is an insight to you without any reason or analysis.

At first you may not know what the intuitive hit is directing you towards, but sooner or later you will."

Laura Alden Kamm


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!

Intuition In Uncertainty

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 Whole Brain – Two Ways Of Looking At 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:

  • Language
  • Logic
  • Critical Thinking
  • Numbers
  • Reasoning

   While the right hemisphere is better at:

  • Recognizing Faces
  • Expressing Emotion
  • Music
  • Reading Emotion
  • Color
  • Images
  • Intuition
  • Creativity

Our 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.

What Is Science Saying

“Much of the world's population believes that intuition is real and that we as human beings can come to a direct knowing of various phenomena outside of the normal range of our five senses.

It is only in the last few decades, however, that rigorous scientific studies have suggested the existence of intuitive abilities”. 


Left Side – Right Side

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

My 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 – 


Think of it like being in a crowded room with ten different conversations going on – you are not sure which conversation you belong to – two people to your right talking about this – three to your left talking about that – your cell phone rings and you want to take the call – you walk away to some quieter place to listen to the call – natural!

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.

Trust  It

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.

Also you don’t have to act immediately – usually if something is the right thing to do it stays the right thing to do - and you will get a second chance to act.

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-

“Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you”.

Richard Branson 

So developing the skills of listening to ourselves to "hear" what the whole brain is "saying" is of enormous benefit in our lives.

> Stage 2 Awareness: Listening To Ourselves

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