Updated: May 31
Have you ever wondered how practicing mindfulness applies practically to our daily lives?
When we apply the same principles we learned in our personal practice of mindfulness, let’s call this the art of attention, we can connect more mindfully with others.
It’s the same set of steps.
When we purposely practice being a witness of things we can feel, smell, taste, and see we are practicing being fully present as a listener. This becomes a practical skill set when practicing being fully present with and listening to others.
Listening shows up in our lives in 5 forms.
Ignoring - Ignoring is the absence of attention. It is inattention in action. This is the lowest level of listening.
Pretending - Pretending is acting as though we are listening.
Selective Listening - Selective hearing is hearing what we want to hear.
Attentive Listening - Attentive listening is listening with intellect only. We can repeat them but are not emotionally present in the moment.
Empathic Listening - Empathic listening is the highest level of listening. Empathic listening is listening with our whole selves. It is being fully present in the moment. It goes beyond paying attention. It is engaging all of our senses to be mindfully present and in the moment. When we are listening from this space we notice our response to another. It is listening to what is said and picking up on what is not said. It is listening with our eyes, ears, and spirits. When we are listening from a place of empathy, our thinking mind is calm, quiet, and still like a calm pool of water. Listening from this space frees us from our old ways of thinking and opens us to being a witness to reality as it unfolds in the moment.
“The highest form of knowledge is empathy.” - Bill Bullard
Reflections & Opportunities for Growth
1. Have you ever felt ignored? How did it make you feel?
What would you like to tell the person you felt was ignoring you?
2. Can you remember a time when you may have been ignoring someone when they needed a space to be heard? How does this realization make you feel?
What would you do differently if presented with an opportunity to be fully present and listen? What would you say to this person today?
3. Have you ever felt like someone was pretending to listen to you but you could tell they weren’t really listening to you? How did this make you feel?
What would you like to tell this person?
4. Can you recall a time in your life where you may have pretended to listen to someone? How does this make you feel? What would you do differently if presented with an opportunity to be fully present and listen? What would you say to this person today?
5. Have you ever felt like someone only hears what they want to hear and you’re always misunderstood or that your words have been twisted and used against you? How did that make you feel? What would you like to tell this person?
6. Can you remember a time when someone told you that you’re not understanding them or that you only hear what you want to hear? What would you do differently if presented with an opportunity to be fully present and listen? What would you say to this person today?
7. How can you connect more mindfully and purposefully with someone today?
"Healing is an art. It takes time, it takes patience. It takes love. - Maza-Dohta