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Lend Me Your Ear - The Art Of Listening
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True conversation is a two way process that engages the art of listening. Apparently now a lost art, lstening just doesn't enter into a lot of agendas. The result? - no dialogue, just two parallel monologues from which nobody gains because no listening is involved.

Believing that if you can't improve on silence then nothing should be said, I hope that when I do converse I offer something of reasonable consequence - at least something worthy of being heard and considered, even if it then rejected.

More and more, I find - and, indeed observe in other 'conversations' so it's not just that I am boringly repellant! - people don't listen, not even to the end of sentence before interjecting their own opinion. This is usually out of context, as the true intention of the speaker hasn't revealed itself. The conversation then takes a different trajectory and something of import may be lost forever.

Further distraction, which irritates a serious speaker beyond the pale, is being punctuated with inane, irrelevant jokes and innuendo or even - this is someone to be avoided - diverting a conversation to a limited comfort zone when their understanding is absent.

To give full attention to the expression of another, is to value them as a person. It is due respect - and the opportunity to learn something or the chance for true debate.

The old maxim that "I would fight to the death for your right to speak, even if I disagree" pertains to free speech and the right to verbalise an opinion - which, thankfully in our society we have. But then, day to day in face to face situations one is disallowed from finishing a sentence!

When I find such undeserving partners in serious conversation, I discontinue and mentally dismiss them. "Cast not your pearl before swine."

I try to practise the art of listening and have been told I'm a good listener. I hope so. This art, at its best, is being an empty vessel and allowing someone to outpour, with spaces uncrowded while they formulate thought or take a breath. Wrapt attention involves a heart of blazing fire - love and respect - and a mind of ice cold steel - uncluttered, considered reserve. Fine listeners we'd all be if we could do that!

Writing articles is one way to ensure your words 'get out there' without interruption. A captive readership. Bliss!

I'm glad to get all this off my chest - maybe I'm better suited to monologue and should avoid conversation altogether. After all, what better preserve than the soap box?

So, to sum up all this pontificating - in a nutshell, anyone who doesn't listen deprives her/himself of wisdom, has no respect and is plain chuffing rude.

Street Talk

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