Listening is an art-form, a skill for life, and one that is surprisingly lacking a lot of the time.
We are all so busy thinking about what we are going to say next, and wanting to pursue our own agendas, that sometimes we forget to be present and receptive to the people that we love. In order to get better at relationships, we need to get better at listening.
If speaking is yang, then listening is yin. On a spiritual level, prayer is yang (something I am doing) and meditation is yin (something I am being). In meditation we are creating a space into which spiritual communication can fall. Meditation is the spiritual equivalent of listening.
Listening involves being receptive to stimuli, ideas and really hearing what your beloveds are saying. It is also an attitude of receptivity. Listening can be done through the heart chakra, and this then gives us access not only to what is physically said but to the energy and vibration sitting behind it. When we really listen this way, we ‘hear’ what is not said as well as what is.
When people feel heard, they feel valued and appreciated. When people feel that you are not listening to them, automatically what is set up is a frustrating dynamic, which encourages people to become more bombastic with their statements and claims. Then we might wonder why they are yelling or thumping the table.
When people are speaking to you it is important to acknowledge what they have said. Here is where verbal and non-verbal cues can make the differences between a frustrating interaction where the beloved feels aggrieved by your attitude, and a pleasant interaction where the beloved feels respected. Failing to give any indication that you have heard what the beloved said or changing the subject and speaking of something else before you have acknowledged their statement, is a relationship slayer. Often this can be a habit, even something that has seeped into you from other people around you who might do the same thing. It is most definitely a habit worth changing, and one that a little awareness and a desire to build your relationship will help you to change.
Consciously practice the art of listening and see the difference it makes in your life.
For other tips on how to improve relationships, read Shakti Durgas book Empowering Relationships