"Listen, or your tongue will keep you deaf"...I would love to share the name of the person who spoke these words however I don't know. Although, our Ancestors who practiced the old traditional ways of life would not have cared to seek credit for their words anyway, as the wisdom was offered with an open heart to help others live a better life. I share these wise words with the utmost respect and thanks.
It's been my observation and experience the past few years, since I've been actively working on my 'listening' skills, that listening seems to be a lost art. Not that it's really an art I guess, it's actually a powerful tool to maneuvre through this life. It's one of the senses that we humans were given here to use on our soul's journey. I've found that not listening has gotten especially more noticeable the more overcome we are by the latest technology. Our attention has become so easily diverted and we all tend to be more self absorbed at times than is healthy.
Have you ever noticed yourself in a group situation or even one on one where you are not listening because you are too busy thinking about what you are going to say next? Have you ever noticed you ask someone a question, even one as simple as 'how are you?' but you can't remember what the other person told you? Great marker points for us to realize we aren't listening. I'm not sure if many people even give this much thought but I have really noticed it the more I practice my listening skills that most people are not listening when it's the other person's turn to speak. They drift off or are busy checking their phones or if I've noticed when I'm having a phone conversation with someone, I can tell when they are more interested in checking their computer or sending a text than being truly engaged in what I hoped to be an equal exchange of energy. I've even sometimes found myself sitting with two or three people all talking at once, unsure of who to listen too! haha
We can learn alot by practicing our listening skills. Learning how to listen makes the sharing experience far more enjoyable and productive. Many of the Indigenous practices use what is called a talking stick, or I've experienced some using a stone as well. It's a powerful way to honor another while they speak. While the person who holds the stick or rock is speaking, no one else speaks. It is that time for you to listen and respect that person and what they have to contribute. When that person is finished speaking, the stick or rock is passed so the next person can be heard. Listening skills were extremely important to our Ancestors who lived on the land, their survival often depended on it.
I owe the beginning of my self awareness about my own listening skills to a roommate I had in Inuvik some years back. We were talking one night at the kitchen table and I was interrupting like I used to do alot, and yapping my face off like I used to do alot, when he stopped me and said "You're on transmit again and I need you on receive!". How funny is that? Nothing like hearing it from a highway man! After that moment I started to become aware of myself and when I was and wasn't listening. That was a valuable lesson for me and while I've as yet to perfect it, I remain aware of it to this day.
Through my life coaching work I have often had clients who are in their heads so much analyzing and over analyzing things that they aren't open to notice or hear their messages from their higher self or Spirit helpers like guides and angels, let alone people. The thinking and being in their mind so much, has actually acted like an energetic wall stopping the flow of ideas and inspiration that wants to come through. This is especially noticeable among air signs such as Aquarius, Libra and Gemini. The idea is to learn when to think or talk, and when to listen and be still. This is in no way a judgement, simply an observation.
It's also been my observation that some people who are not particularly good at listening have hearing problems, or ear problems. At times, I've also been shown that their pets or kids have taken on the hearing or ear issues to reflect it back to whoever in the house is meant to be shown to work on their listening sense. It's hard being honest with ourselves sometimes, admitting or accepting that part of ourselves we are adamant that we are NOT. However, denial keeps us from growing and the ego loves that ;-)
What a different world this would be if we all started to be aware of, and practice truly listening and engaging in the natural back and forth flow of a conversation. Truly listening to another person speak is like silently saying 'you matter', 'I see you and I hear you'.
We all need to learn to talk less and listen more at the appropriate times. Just think of how much more fulfilling our conversations and relationships could be!
Like the old ditty says, "A wise old owl sat on the oak, the more he heard, the less he spoke, the less he spoke, the more he heard, now wasn't he a wise old bird?"
Peace, Love and Listening