Develop your listening skills and become a deeper, more impactful listener with these short insights.
Many times, people just want your ear, not your voice. We are often so quick to want to give people our advice that we seldom truly listen. I used to think that my advice is what people always wanted, so I made sure I gave it to them. Upon deeper reflection and inquiry, I started to realize that this just wasn’t true. The roadblock with thinking that this is true is two fold; we get caught up with formulating our advice that we actually stop listening, and, feeling heard is what people want most of the time, wise advice is just a bonus. Deep listening, on its’ own has the ability to create a transformational experience within another, words aren’t a necessity for this to happen. Unfortunately, deep listening seems to be a rarity these days, let’s change that.
The next time someone confides in you, play a game with yourself. See if you can get through the conversation without giving advice. If this is something you typically don’t do, be prepared for some shocking results.
Want to wow someone? Listen, don’t judge, be understanding, be compassionate, and instead of giving advice; ask questions that point them back to their innate wisdom.
The pause in a conversation is not a time to jump in, it is a space created for conscious reflection and an opportunity for new thought to come through into expression. Are you allowing time for them to pause and reflect before jumping in? Guilty as charged. I used to be terrible at this, waiting for that momentary pause so I can jump in to express my opinion or give my advice. After learning the significance of the pause, and consciously using it as a space for reflection instead of an opportunity to jump in, I noticed the other person would generally relax into that space and speak on thoughts that I generally would have robbed them from by jumping in.
Understanding what someone is saying is incomplete if you don’t hear the meaning behind their words. Words in and of themselves have no meaning without context. If we attach our own meaning to their words instead of listening for their meaning, we haven’t heard them. Many of us hang on to words, I notice I tend to do this more often than I’d like. But words can mean so many different things. Listen for the words within the context they are being spoken and the emotional background they are given birth from. We are guaranteed to hear something different if we do.
A deep listener will explore beyond the obvious, and beyond understanding, to find meaning.
Fun Fact: We can listen at 400 words per minute yet only speak at 125-175 words per minute. Because of the gap between the rate at which we can listen and speak, it is inevitable that your mind will wander at times while listening to another. The difference maker is, how quickly you can catch your mind wandering and bring it back to the present moment.
When people are speaking, let them speak. If they appear to be struggling to find a word or put together their next thought, give them space. Don’t attempt to finish what you didn’t give them the chance to.
You look for energy to pull you in one direction because you feel a thought-created pull in the opposite direction. Therefore, you resist that opposing pull and call this energy willpower. I consider willpower and the supposed need for it a societal fallacy, few ever question it. Here’s an example to give a better understanding of this InSight: Imagine this – You’re on a nutrition plan to lose weight and you start thinking about the cookies in the cupboard that your spouse bought. You now resist the urge that your thought created, which is to go into that cupboard and have a cookie (or 2). So what do you do? You muster up all your willpower to resist doing what you don’t want to do. Now, most people would think they’re resisting the cookies, but in actuality, they’re resisting the thought of eating the cookies. Keep in mind, we only resist a thought because we have labelled it as bad or undesirable. You then attempt to will the thought away with all of your willpower and live in a state of resistance. As the old saying goes, what you resist will persist. The urge/craving will never truly go away. It may feel that way because you’ve suppressed it via resistance, but it will always come back, usually more often than you’d like. Instead of trying to push that thought and subsequent craving away, sit with the thought and feeling without judgment. Accept it as it enters your consciousness, give it permission to be there and don’t fear it or judge it. See it as just a thought, no more and no less, because that is all it is, it cannot hurt you. This will allow you to let the thought go resistance-free and the urge/craving then slowly dissolves on its’ own. And the need for willpower diminishes once we dissolve the source of the resistance.
Is will power necessary? Yes, but only when you don’t go deep enough within yourself to dissolve your resistance. Get still and ask yourself: Where is this resistance coming from? What are the thoughts I’m believing that are creating this resistance within me? Who am I to be in order to dissolve this resistance?
Willpower is like driving with one foot on the brake and pressing the gas pedal harder while the fuel tank runs out faster, all in an attempt to generate momentum. Wouldn’t it be easier to just let go of the brake (thought) to eliminate friction and conserve fuel? Just a thought. Release attachment to the security of holding on to the brake or gas (thought) and set yourself free to move forward more gracefully instead of forcefully.
All emotional resistance within yourself is thought-created. This is helpful to know because when you can see the resistance for what it is, a thought believed, it begins to hold less and less power. Thus, absolving the need to generate power from your will to resist this thought and expend unnecessary additional energy.
Willpower doesn’t really seem to be power at all, it more resembles force. We are forcing momentum in a specific direction against a high friction resistance (a resisted thought). Force is needed due to the friction we have created within ourselves via our thoughts.
Fighting power with force is exhausting and inefficient, it requires a massive amount of energy. Think of a time when you had to exert a large amount of will power (force) toward something, how did you feel after? Drained? Exhausted? Most likely. Imagine you were able to conserve this energy and direct it toward your creativity instead? How would that feel?
Find your stillpower instead of your willpower. Once you experience the power of stillness, your perception of willpower will change forever. Your stillpower is that quiet place within you that is the source for all of your inspiration and wisdom. It’s not forceful like willpower, as force is not needed, it’s resistance-free inspiration, it breathes life into you.
Look beyond the thought created resistance that’s taunting you to fire up all of your inner resources and put them toward your willpower, leaving you with little energy left for anything else. When you look beyond these thoughts, there is a quiet space awaiting you, your stillpower. Look toward that and a whole new landscape will arise.
Manipulate your environment to eliminate resistance, and therefore the need for willpower. For example, a couple of years ago when I first started implementing a morning ritual, my plan was to start waking up 1 hour earlier than normal. What I did to make this much easier on myself was I manipulated my environment by placing my cell phone across the room. When my alarm went off in the morning, I had to get out of bed in order to shut it off, and if I didn’t shut it off my wife would have killed me, so it left me no choice but to jump out of bed.
What do we do when we want to get to know someone? We spend time with them. If we want to get to know ourselves we must do the same. In a world of deadlines and so-called busyness, most people I know don’t even give themselves 10 minutes of their own time on a daily basis to connect, reflect, and express love for themselves. Make yourself a priority, create a loving foundational relationship with yourself. This lays the groundwork for all other relationships you currently have and create in the future. This is what is needed for any relationship to maintain itself and flourish, whether it be with another or with ourselves.
I used to tell myself I wasn’t worth it, until I kissed that self goodbye. I came to the realization that any concept of myself that I deemed unworthy was just a conceptual lie. I made it up. This is also how I rid myself of the perfectionism that plagued me for so long. I no longer see the truth in it that I once used to.
Be gentle and compassionate with yourself, this sets the stage for growth and new opportunity.
You will stumble, you will fall, get back up and give it your all.
I’ve learned more from looking into my own reflection than I did from 14 years of schooling, and it was free.
One thing school won’t teach you is the abstract art of looking into your own reflection and discovering the innate wisdom that can only be found through contemplative introspection.
If you don’t make time for yourself, don’t come down on others when they don’t make time for you either.
Ask yourself: Why does this persons’ action bother me so much? There’s a good chance that you have performed, or still do perform that same action and continue to judge yourself for it. We place a bulls-eye on actions that we judge ourselves for, and we seek these actions everywhere we go. Have you ever noticed that you tend to notice the same actions that bother you, repetitively? Be honest with yourself, and when you discover the truth, be compassionate with yourself and let go of your judgments. You will then begin to notice less and less the action of another that used to bother you. This is all because you recognized it within yourself, that it was you who was bothering you the entire time.
You must learn to stand alone without feeling alone before you can stand with solitude amongst the multitude.
I’ve been through some shit and I’ve been through some shit, let’s not judge each other. No, that second “I’ve” is not a typo. Until we transcend our self constructs, we associate ourselves with multiple identities. We become chameleons, transforming our identity according to past experiences, who we are surrounded by, who others have judged us to be, who we’ve judged ourselves to be, and our emotional state. We judge all the different identities we have given ourselves as parts of ourselves we like or dislike, yet none of the identities are truth.
The depth of our relationship with another can only be as deep as the one we have with ourselves. For example, if you are too afraid to face the source of your guilty feeling, you will feel very uncomfortable in the presence of another who is feeling guilty. This discomfort will create a roadblock to new depths for that relationship. We will be comfortable to face with another only that which we have faced within ourselves.
Try this: Instead of trying to create a new version of yourself, aim to reveal your true self by taking off the mask of the version that disguised you.
We wear many masks over our lifetime, few of us take them off to experience who we really are.
We are one truth wearing the mask of many lies.
Truth is what remains when we can see that we’re not the chameleon, we’re the creator of the chameleon.
I have a client who has been running for a seat at the table in his region for the better part of a year now.
The vote that would determine his fate passed recently, except, nobody got a chance to vote for him. He resigned from running on the morning of the big day.
His own party made a deal with fellow party members from other areas of the country, all behind his back. Supposedly, they had known about the deal months ago and didn’t say anything.
Suffice to say, he was devastated.
This experience did open other doors that would have been opened previously, and it was a great learning experience.
Here’s the 2 ideas we discussed during our conversation.
1. No matter the outcome, you will be OK
In other words, the outcome won’t change who you are beneath all of your thoughts. The essence of who you are will remain unchanged and intact.
This is great news. Why? Because knowing this can guide you toward releasing any attachment to the outcome. Having an understanding that
outcomes don’t define you, thoughts do
means that you can be whoever you want to be regardless of the outcome.
It also points out that
others aren’t defining you by your outcome either, they are defining you by their thoughts about who they judge you to be, based on their severely limited perception of who you are.
2. Trust the process instead of trying to force it
More times than not, the outcome doesn’t happen as we had planned it in our heads. However, we still seem to think that we can force the future to favour our hand.
This is when we find ourselves ruminating over the process, that our thinking will somehow force our desired outcome. This constant rumination creates stress and anxiety within us and leaves no room for your wisdom to come through into expression.
The moment we start trying to force the journey is the very same moment we stop enjoying it.
Part of trusting the process is accepting all that is out of our control. We don’t control what others may say about us or what they may do. Lest worry about that so you can channel that energy toward your own creations and tapping into your innate wisdom
Time spent thinking about what may happen, that is out of your control, is time that could have been spent on what you can control. This can also lead to you feeling like you’re losing control because you’ve taken your eye off the ball.
Ever wondered whether your actions are helping or enabling another?
My hope is that these insights will allow you to see with more clarity.
There is a fine line between helping and enabling. If your helping isn’t supporting their growth as a person, there’s a good chance you’re enabling a behaviour that hinders it.
Ask yourself: Am I not letting go of my behavior towards them because it makes me feel uncomfortable by doing so or because you think it might make them feel uncomfortable by doing so? If it’s because you are avoiding feeling uncomfortable, there’s a good chance you have made it about you instead of them. Be ready to do what is best for them, despite your discomfort.
Ask yourself: Am I attempting to fill up my cup or theirs? For example, one who doesn’t love them self is enabling the behaviour of another because they associate that behaviour with receiving love in return. Therefore, they feel loved at the expense of inhibiting the growth, learning, joy, health etc. of the person whose behaviour they’re enabling.
Ask yourself: Am I acting out of selfishness or selflessness? A selfless person will do what is best to nurture the other persons’ growth despite their own personal attachments. They will also see that what is best for the other person is also best for them. This is how selfless people are able to let people go that they love dearly, instead of holding on to them for personal gain.
Instead of constantly over-watering the flower out of fear that it’s not getting enough, try stepping back to watch the universe take care of it, witness the rain nurture its’ growth.
We also have a tendency to do this with humans as well, in the form of enabling or smothering. Fearing that without us they won’t grow or function optimally.
Sometimes, others truly do need our help, and at other times we need to trust that their innate wisdom will guide them to flourish and grow, safely.
When it comes time to make an important decision, a potentially life altering, game-breaking decision, how are we to know what to do?
Some would say use logic
Some would say use ration
Some would say listen to your emotions (maybe?)
Some would say follow your gut
Some would say call a friend
What many don’t say is…
What to consider when using logic
Logic relies solely on the past. All of its’ reasoning and facts are based upon what lay behind us, not ahead of us. This can surely have some merit, however, facts change, science evolves, and this must be taken into consideration. The past does not equal the future.
There’s a good chance we’re making a decision based on logic when we base our decision primarily around fact and evidence. Therefore, leading us to create a specified sequence that will get us from here to our destination in order to justify our upcoming decision.
Logic has its’ place assisting in the decision making process, but I would argue that it shouldn’t be a crutch.
But above all, logic is really shitty at going beyond the material world of things and involves zero insights gathered from our infinite wisdom.
Use logic wisely.
What to consider when using ration
Like logic, ration also relies on a past to predict the future. In comparison, ration will be based more on concepts of reasoning oppose to evidence or facts.
Sounds ideal right? Well yes, except….
Ration doesn’t take our emotions into consideration. And yes, our emotions are very real to us. They can tell us a lot, or they can tell us very little, if we’re in tune with them.
Making a rational decision that eventually leads to resentment probably wasn’t the wisest decision at the time. Could it have been avoided? Surely.
And similar to logic, ration is based on conceptualizations on the material world.
Use ration wisely.
What to consider when using your gut
The largest issue with this in my experience is that most people don’t even know what the heck it means to follow their gut.
What does that even feel like?
Butterflies in the tummy?
If so, what does that even mean?
I know most use this figure of speech in a way that refers to our inner knowingness, our internal compass,
In my experience, this is just bad terminology that people could intellectualize into numerous different ways.
Many people I talk to aren’t familiar with what a gut feeling in relation to our inner knowing vs our emotions fluttering in their belly.
If you are familiar with how to separate the two then definitely take your gut feeling into consideration. Our gut can tell us things that have yet formulate in the material world, it hasn’t been proven, we cannot see it, but we just know.
What to consider when listening to your emotions
They are very inaccurate. All our emotions do is give us an accurate indication of our thinking in the moment. Our thoughts could be logical, illogical, rational, or irrational, our emotions do not care.
They are just reflecting back to us what is going on upstairs, nothing more.
Making a decision based on emotion is like trying to find a treasure after buying a compass that states on the package “all directions could be True North”.
It’s the blind leading the blind.
What to consider when calling a friend
At first, I put this one down as a joke and was going to treat it as such. Then, a thought came to mind, calling a friend can actually be quite useful.
What a friend can offer us when we’re consumed by endless choices and one decision to make is… perspective. A single shift in perspective can lead to an insight that changes the entire landscape for us.
Choose this person wisely, use their vision not their opinion.
Tapping into our infinite wisdom
Each and every one of us has an endless well of wisdom waiting to be tapped into. When it comes to making life changing decisions, this would be a great time to drop a bucket into the well and see what wisdom may come out.
Our wisdom doesn’t rely on logic, ration, emotions, our friend. While our wisdom doesn’t rely on any of these, it can tell us how to use them wisely.
Our wisdom does have some relation to a gut feeling, otherwise known as our inner knowing. This is a knowing that cannot be explained in the world of form, there’s no evidence to prove it, it may even seem irrational to some, and maybe even ourselves at first.
Our wisdom will distinguish the gut feeling of inner knowing vs anxiety.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how to tap into your infinite wisdom…
Instead of looking into the direction of what you already know (logic, ration), look toward the unknown. Sit quietly with your thoughts, direct your attention toward what you do not yet know. Or, maybe you do know but have yet to acknowledge it due to being so focused on the variables of the known.
Connect with the space between your thoughts, as out of this space of nothing, arises everything.
Be patient, an inner knowing will surely come to you. An answer will come, that can be assured, but it won’t be on your timeline. The more you try to force an answer the further from it you will become.
Sit back and listen for the whispers of your wisdom, allow it to be heard.
And learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.