Listen Deeply

It is impossible for us to put ourselves in another’s shoes, and feel what they feel. We never even come close to fully understanding another person although sometimes we believe we do. Imagine for a moment relieving your skull of your brain, and transferring within it another man’s mind. His thoughts project within yourself as if they were your own. You get to hear the constant mind noise which overcomes every second of his life. Those thoughts create that person’s personality, motives, ethics, vices, and insecurities. For once you can understand the unspoken gaps in conversation, the taboo reels which unwind within, and the emotions which cannot be expressed in words. All those feelings and thoughts that people do not express for fear of judgement leap out and become your own. Only after listening to the daily mind chatter can you truly understand someone else and why they feel the way they do. There is too much past and history engrained within every thought to simply pretend to sympathize with someone. Your “understanding”, fascial expressions, sympathy, and solutions are your own and maybe in your reality they even make sense. But how do you really connect and understand someone else? Unfortunately, the exchanging of craniums is both impossible and perhaps too unsettling a thought for every human who drowns in their own deep secret sea of thoughts.

We listen to others to feel better about ourselves. Our ego places itself on a higher level when listening to someone else’s problems. Subconsciously or for many consciously, helping someone means getting approval through giving worthy advice. Often this advice is exactly what the speaker wants to hear. Drowning in the same exact sea as the other person, we somehow, as listeners, seem to find answers and solutions as if we are the ultimate guides of life. We merely role play, switching from venting victim to all knowing Guru of endless ideal advice. Both are false as they speak. Neither the listener nor the victim get closure when true empathy ceases to exist.

Talking to someone is very therapeutic, and it can be a great way to relieve pressure; However, when both the listener and the speaker are looking for attention neither achieves a true connect. Nothing deeper wells up to create interdependent communication and understanding. The speaker/victim is too busy scripting and spicing up the story to induce sympathy and approval from the listener. “Oh can you believe he/she did.____, so I had to _____. I guess life just is not fair to me.” On the other hand, the listener is not really listening nor trying to understand, because the listener is too busy thinking about what advice to give or what to say next. The listener is often thinking, “How do I put this without being too hard, ummmm, maybe she should get a divorce. They just do not have a strong mutual understanding. No, counseling maybe.” Both are viciously trying to gain the other’s approval without ever listening or speaking. This is how ninety percent of communication unfolds, hence there is a lack of depth in relationships, friendships, businesses, and households.

The moment we put ourselves away and intensify the empathy within a conversation we see the situation from the other person’s perspective. One of the greatest used words in daily conversation is “me, my, mine.” The ego subtly inserts itself within every single aspect of our lives giving the illusion of being superficial or self-centered. We commonly toss the “superficial” word around to describe people around us whom we sense are too centered on themselves. However, the magic mirror depicts an intrinsic law in human character and that is a direct reflection of YOURSELF. Do you ever listen to just listen? Do you listen to truly help and understand someone else? Do you listen without a motive to further yourself? Your motives may never be seen, but the depth from which you live and interact with others does show a gigantic ripple of either superficial or empathetic intentions.

The paradox still exists, how does one place oneself in someone else’s perspective if it is impossible to totally “understand” another person? The answer does not lie in understanding and solving everybody’s life with a basic formula or knowing everything about someone else. Instead listening without judgment, role, or ego increases the depth of frequency in conversation. A genuine person with humility can empathetically listen without inserting himself in the conversation, and relieve the other miraculously by never uttering a word of advice or fake expression of sympathy. Essentially, we must crawl into the thoughts of the other person, and make them our own without putting our own spin on the conversation. Clarifying emotions with short phrases and matching the person’s intensity creates a unity and cohesion. The empty void between words, thoughts, and phrases is filled with a deeper understanding much further in the universe than can be expressed by words or felt by the human template. Closure comes to both the listener and the speaker when there is a mutual sense of empathy. Understanding appears and problems minimize in the fury of human compassion and intrinsically in the universal silence of the Creator, Waheguru.

If you want to be understood, then learn to understand. If you want love, then learn to love. If you want someone to respect you, then learn to respect others. What you see in others you end up seeing within yourself. If everyone is superficial and fake, then I recommend looking in the magic mirror and seeing an answer. It might just be you. If ego exits a conversation, a friendship, or relationship then expectations also die without the oxygen created by the ego. The death of the ego leads to the death of expectations, and the death of expectations leads to openness. Openness joins with oneness. Now you can both understand and be understood because everything and everyone begin vibrating at the same frequency of the One God and Creator.

Communication through conversation is a secondary vehicle to connect with those outside yourself. Enjoy and learn from the differences in views because everyone is, indeed, unique. Once a cause for conflict, difference now becomes a point to understand and learn from. One cannot experience everything in life, but one can learn from the experiences of others. If you fear opening yourself to others and different views and ideas, then take a moment to ask what you are afraid to lose? Sure we become vulnerable when we open ourselves, but the only change which takes hold is growth. Growth is vital for survival in all things that flourish in life. Fear of betrayal and pain is also a real component in openness for the rose cannot be admired without acknowledging the beauty of both the rose and its thorn.

Hurt and betrayal are inevitable in society as long as people remain unawakened by consciousness. After such hurt some people get so torn and weak that they raise up walls of barrier. They build a fortress which keeps people out, essentially, suffocating opportunity’s growth. On the other hand, others learn from such traumatic experiences and reform themselves instead of blaming society. They learn to detach from gossip and hurtful conversation, and soon realize a simple yet amazing reaction from their positive action. Those who gossip with you shall gossip of you, no longer pertains to such people for they are now above it. They have built a character on respect, integrity, loyalty, and empathy. They too have built a fortress, but one that is far stronger for it stands on noble character, and no one can take it down. Insecurities do not drag these people down, so they are open to new positive experiences and repel themselves from negative experiences which tear down others at their own expense.

We must learn to live symbiotically with one another. We are all on the same unknown journey, but the only difference is that we trek down our own separate paths together. Do not let it get lonely for we can take interest, joy, and pain from the journey of others as well as our own.