The Listening Window
October 8, 2020
Overcast and cool
“Close your hearing door and open your listening window.”
In the old days (prior to Covid), I was riding on the local municipal buses in Oakland, CA, where I live. One evening the bus was particularly crowded. I was sitting, but many people were standing, including a mother holding her six-month old baby in one arm while hanging onto the pole with the other. The baby began to cry, quickly escalating to a piercing shriek. The mother was trying to comfort her baby, but the desperate cries continued.
“That is one angry kid,” I said to the gray-haired woman sitting next to me. “That is a very hungry child,” she said, giving the baby the dignity of calling him a child. “His dinner is right next to him and he can’t get it.”
I fell silent, embarrassed. I was only thinking of the annoyance of the screaming baby, but my fellow passenger was listening to how the baby felt, his hunger, his frustration. She was a listener and she opened my ears simply by saying what she heard. I realized that I was only hearing, not listening.
We may not know how to influence the non-listeners in our lives, but the lady on the bus showed me a way – Speak Up! Say what we are hearing. We may awaken someone to listen with a deeper level of understanding, just as the bus lady did for me.
This means living with our listening ears wide open like the deer in the picture above.
Today, I am recommending a new book about listening in relationships, Being Together: Practical Wisdom for Loving Yourself and Others, by Padma Gordon. This book is based on the experiences of real people. It is practical, helpful, and available on Amazon here.
p.s. A proof copy of The Healer’s Way, by Rahul Patel, will be printed on October 12. By next month, I will have a copy! I will let you know when they are available. Also, the new website for Rahul Patel will be up soon.
p.p.s. What I am reading: Becoming Quan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion by Stephen Levine. Available on Amazon here.