The Sacred Art of Listening

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The Sacred Art of Listening

Definition of sacred art of listening
1. It is the art of becoming a listening presence. 2. It’s a way of being that opens us up so we can listen to people from diverse, cultures, religions, belief systems and points of view, those not like us. 3. It’s about being a presence for understanding rather than for judging. 4. It’s about being open, curious, and attentive to others in such a way that at the end of the conversation they have fully expressed themselves and feel more alive. When we understand the power of sacred listening, we become aware that it is a key to communication in our global community. Listening has become a lost art.

Research on listening indicates that we spend about 80% of our waking hours communicating: writing 9%, reading 16%, speaking 30% and 45 to 50 percent of our day engaged in listening, to people, music, TV, radio, etc. About 75 percent of that time we are forgetful, pre-occupied, or not paying attention. One of the factors influencing this statistic is that the average attention span for an adult in the United States is 22 seconds. It’s no surprise to note the length of television commercials, usually anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds. This constant change of focus makes it more difficult to listen for any significant length of time. Immediately after we hear someone speak, we remember about half of what they have said. A few hours later we remember only about 10 to 20 percent. Yet, less than 5 percent of us have ever concentrated on developing our skills in listening. When people hear these numbers, they often say: “This is so interesting. I know that I spend hours preparing to speak. I don’t think I’ve ever consciously prepared to listen.” Prepare to listen

What I’ve discovered over these past few years is that the work that I do is all about teaching people how to prepare to listen—to become a listening presence....
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