Deep Listening

A friend asked me today why I loved him; specifically, what had he done that made me feel the way I did about him. It was the first time anyone had asked me that before and I didn’t have a canned response. I really had to stop and think for a moment before answering.

I told him it was because he made me feel valued. That he really listened to me when I talked.

So many family, friends, and lovers over my 58 years have crossed my path. With rare exception, the one thing they had in common was they all wanted something from me. My time. My attention. My money. My knowledge. My skills. My creativity. My kindness. “My” listening ear…

And the exchange? In most cases there wasn’t one. They just wanted. Knowing I would give. This man, however, was different. He didn’t want anything other than, in that moment, to listen to me. Ineffable. Worthy of love on the grandest scale!

This evening I was led by twitter feed, through a posting of Lilou Mace’s, to a YouTube clip of Oprah Winfrey talking with Thich Nhat Hanh. The entire piece runs 21:47 and is worth every moment for those who have the desire. However, it was the snippet from 10:30 – 11:44 that grabbed my attention. It was about what TNH called “deep listening.” When I heard it I knew that is what my friend had given me, and why I loved him so much.

Here is a transcription of that part, with the video excerpt tagged and lined up to replay directly below.

~~~~~ — ~~ — ~~~~~ — ~~ — ~~~~~ — ~~ — ~~~~~
OW: You talk about deep listening, also.

TNH: Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of the other person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose. Help him or her to empty his heart. And if you remember that you are helping him or her to suffer less, and then even if he says… things full of wrong perception, full of bitterness, you are still capable to continue to listen with compassion. Because you know that listening like that, with compassion, you give him or her a chance to suffer less. If you want to help him or her to correct his perception, and then you wait for another time. But for the time being, you just listen with compassion and help him or her to suffer less.

And one hour like that can bring transformation and healing.
~~~~~ — ~~ — ~~~~~ — ~~ — ~~~~~ — ~~ — ~~~~~

Starts at 10:39 and goes thru 11:44

Oprah Winfrey talks with Thich Nhat Hanh
MindfulCloud PBC | May 12, 2013

If you wish to continue to listen past where I’ve programed it to stop, simply click your mouse anywhere on the player status bar.




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