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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Art of Listening | Brenda Ueland, Zen Moments

I've been trying to write a useful summary of this moving article by author Brenda Ueland and can't. I suggest you read the stories Ueland tells in it, providing evidence to support her advice. 

But without those stories, here are some tidbits of her suggestions to grab your attention before you start "listening" to the words she writes:
It makes people happy and free when they are listened to. And if you are a listener, it is the secret of having a good time in society (because everybody around you becomes lively and interesting), of comforting people, of doing them good. ...
You are taught in school to put down on paper only the bright things. Wrong. Pour out the dull things on paper too – you can tear them up afterward – for only then do the bright ones come. If you hold back the dull things, you are certain to hold back what is clear and beautiful and true and lively. ...
You love your children, but probably don’t let them in. Unless you listen, you can’t know anybody. Oh, you will know facts and what is in the newspapers and all of history, perhaps, but you will not know one single person. You know, I have come to think listening is love, that’s what it really is. ...
Creative listeners are those who want you to be recklessly yourself, even at your very worst, even vituperative, bad- tempered. They are laughing and just delighted with any manifestation of yourself, bad or good. For true listeners know that if you are bad-tempered it does not mean that you are always so. They don’t love you just when you are nice; they love all of you.
In order to listen, here are some suggestions: Try to learn tranquility, to live in the present a part of the time every day. Sometimes say to yourself: “Now. What is happening now? This friend is talking. I am quiet. There is endless time. I hear it, every word.” Then suddenly you begin to hear not only what people are saying, but also what they are trying to say, and you sense the whole truth about them. ...
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Ueland's essay is featured in my daily paper, Garbl's Simple Dreams, for June 25, available at the Simplicity tab above.

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