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  • Upbeat Liverpool

Everyday Mindfulness - Listening Mindfully

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

Mindfulness is a practice of “The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally” (Jon Kabat Zinn)

For the members of PSS Everyday Mindfulness group maintaining this practice is a helpful tool to cultivate wellbeing. This weeks session focuses on ideas around Mindful listening….

When we are listening mindfully, we are fully present with what we’re hearing without trying to control it or judge it. We let go of our inner clamouring and our usual assumptions, and we listen with respect to precisely what is being said. We listen to our own minds and hearts. We listen to sounds, to music, to lectures, to conversations, and, in a sense, to the written word.

Here are some mindful listening practices:

Wake Up Listening

Early morning is especially good for listening. Try this: As you wake up, instead of turning on the TV, your iPhone, or your computer, be still and just listen. In a rural setting, the sounds may be birds and animals waking up. In a city, sounds of outside action begin: garbage collection, building construction, traffic.. Listen for the soft sounds: a cat purring, leaves rustling. Rest your full attention on one sound until it fades away, then let another come to you. As thoughts come into your mind, gently let them go and return to the sound. Then get out of bed and enjoy the sound of the water on your skin in the shower.

In the Groove

Put on some music, maybe classical or slow tempo. Notice the sound and vibration of the notes, the sensations in your body as you listen, and the feelings the music brings up in you. When you notice thoughts arising, gently bring your attention back to the music. Breathe.

In the Shelter of Each Other

Mindful listening helps us be fully present for another person. It is the gift of our attention. It moves us closer to each other. It allows the speaker to feel less vulnerable and more inclined to open up to the listener. Not listening creates separation and fragmentation, which is always painful.

To listen mindfully to another person, stop doing anything else, breathe naturally, and simply listen, without an agenda, to what is being said. If thoughts about other things arise, gently let them go and return to the speaker’s words. As responses arise in your mind, wait until you’ve heard all that has to be said before replying. Try not to let your story overcome the speaker’s. Be curious; don’t assume that you know. Listen for feelings as well as the words.

And you will want to be listened to also. But when you’re speaking, if the person you’re talking to doesn’t appear to be mindfully listening, be patient.

As Winnie the Pooh once said, “It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear".

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