Tag Archives: debate

The power of really listening

“Listening may not be the most exciting part of the conversation, but it’s essential if you want to have a meaningful exchange with another person.” – Tania Israel

When you go with the flow and engage in an active interplay with the universe you will be sculptured into that person you were meant to be on the day you were born.

Yet, attachment to judgments, concepts, beliefs, ideas and habits undoubtedly form the biggest obstacle to personal development and soul elevation.

The renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung once wrote that some of his most difficult patients were the so-called intellectuals, stuck in their rigid rational thinking. If you are unwilling to accept your own shadow, you will be unwilling to move forward.

Just tuning in for a few minutes to some of the world’s popular talk shows is revealing. (I can’t bear watching it for longer) Neither the host nor the participants are really capable of focusing on what the other person has to say. Minds are made-up before the other person has finished speaking and interrupted in mid-sentence.

Playing the tit-for-tat ping-pong game in communication never ends well. We seem to have lost the ability to really engage with our fellow human beings by deep listening. On the personal level, it inevitably leads to misunderstandings and relationship breakdowns. In the public and political arena, the word “consensus” is almost a blasphemy as each side blasts the other from its walled-off information bubble.

The ancient Greeks and the melting pot of ideas

The loudest person in the room seldom has the best answers. Deep listening is only possible if we temporarily remove ourselves from judgment and pre-conceived concepts. It requires a willingness to receive and digest new information – whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

The ancient Athenians were well aware that democracy rested on a bedrock of a lively exchange of different ideas. Aware that every individual perceived reality in a different way, the truth could only be found in an active exchange of these different ideas and concepts.

Much of the public narrative we see is not interested in exchanging ideas but merely seeking affirmation of existing ideas. It is the recipe for stagnation and the slide into authoritarianism, along the lines: “If you don’t accept my truth you are my enemy.”

Deep listening is learning

The great Buddhist monk Thich Nath Hanh, described deep listening as in essence a process of learning. It is how we listen that is truly transformative. He said in an interview with Oprah:  “Deep listening helps us to recognize the existence of wrong perceptions in the other person and wrong perceptions in us. The other person has wrong perceptions about himself and about us. And we have wrong perceptions about ourselves and the other person. And that is the foundation for violence and conflict and war.”

The whispers from the universe, that guide us on our soul path, often come in most unexpected ways from so-called everyday persons. It could be the janitor, the bus driver, or a casual remark picked up on a train.

Asking powerful questions about the who, the what, how, and when will lead to meaning and possibility and keep a thought process and conversation going. Asking questions puts you in a position of authentic authority.

Photo by Kevin Malik on Pexels.com

Listening leaders make listening to the ideas and inputs of their employees a key part of their leadership strategy. Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, summed up his success as a leader with the words: “Listen more than you talk.” 

Real leaders listen in order to form connections and to build trust and respect. It’s so simple but needs to be said, as I experience this often in my workshops and seminars: Stop multi-tasking! Give people your full attention and respect. Look them in the eye and put away your cell phone and laptop.

Autocrats typically cannot listen, surrounding themselves with toadies and sycophants. Inevitably they end up making bad decisions and choices because their leadership style is based on intimidation and fear.

A frightening recent example was Vladimir Putin publicly humiliating his spy chief prior to the invasion of Ukraine. Nobody dared tell him the truth that invading another country was a horrible idea that would ruin Russia’s economy and make it a pariah nation for decades to come.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Which side are you on? Lessons from Brexit

Losing Brain Function

I have learned a lesson from all the controversy surrounding the British Brexit referendum to leave the European Union. When people have made up their mind on a highly emotionally-charged issue, there is nothing in the world that you can do to convince them to think otherwise.

When strong feelings such as national identity and perceived lack of sovereignty override any logical argument that economists, bureaucrats, mathematicians, historians or political scientists put forward, the emotional argument always wins hands down.

Every so often I fall into the same trap of participating in some social media debate, realising afterwards that it was a complete waste of my time. I will not convince someone else to change his or her opinion. Its like trying to persuade someone to give up a religious faith.

We are constantly being manipulated by  emotion. You will hardly sell a soft drink by revealing how much sugar and other toxic ingredients it contains. You call it an “energy drink” and nurture an image advertising it in the hands of handsome and beautiful sport or movie stars.   Its the image and emotion that do the trick. The cigarette industry was a master of such manipulation and so are the political demagogues.

The human mind works like this: Once a thought or an idea becomes an “emotionally charged” belief it will find examples from past experience,  the Internet, chat rooms or from whatever source available to confirm that belief. You will choose friends and associates confirming your viewpoint. That belief becomes unshakeable.  Any other information that contradicts your opinion will be censored by the mind, ignored, attacked or denied because it is perceived as a threat to self-identity.

Amazingly you will find  that many people believe the twin towers collapsed  because of explosive devices and not because of the planes that crashed into them. A significant portion believe the moon landing was a hoax. And so it goes on.  Simply dismissing these folk as a lunatic fringe is too simple. It just tells us that we all are victim to emotional reactions and responses in different forms and patterns and that we are susceptible to falling into the “belief trap” even if all the evidence tells us otherwise.

There is obviously a deep alienation between a large section of the population and what is deemed as the “establishment” – those up there making all the decisions. Or those scientists or mass media knowing all the answers. You will find few dissenters in groups and communities holding the same view because of course you want to “belong” to your tribe or group.

What makes the current situation so dangerous is that in a world of information overload – and often an overload of unsourced and misleading information – more and more people are  following “false prophets” offering simple solutions to complex problems. We seem to have forgotten how all the  “belief systems” “isms” and thin ideologies have so tragically misled humanity in the past.

ITS TIME TO WAKE UP and lift the veil behind all the delusion.

Reino Gevers – coach, author, trainer

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

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