This is part 2 of 2.
Deep listening is the ability to listen without judging or reacting. To be able to focus our full attention on someone when they are talking is a great gift. Oftentimes we are only partially listening when someone is talking due to internal or external distractions or waiting to offer our input, experience, or advice. It is easy to interrupt and talk over others. Deep listening involves allowing space and slowing down. Allowing space for the other person to express themselves and to feel heard and understood – slowing down enough to be able to offer our full presence.
We start with ourselves. How well do we listen deeply to ourselves? In the realm of self care that means asking questions that have to do with our eating, sleeping and physical activity habits. Our bodies are always communicating with us but we aren’t trained to listen deeply. Are we eating a healthy, balanced diet? Are we getting enough sleep? Enough rest and relaxation? Are we getting enough exercise and movement? If we don’t know how to listen to what our minds and bodies need to thrive and feel good then it will be difficult to listen on other levels to ourself as well.
When we don’t know how to listen to ourselves we are unable to nourish and care for ourselves. And if we are not taking good care of ourselves we will not be able to take good care of others. Let us start with ourselves in the practice of deep listening. When we care fully for ourselves we are then able to care fully for others. When we can offer our presence to ourselves we can then offer it to others. This is the very foundation of deep listening.