What type of listening vessel am I?
This summer as I was listening to one of my children express their emotional and physical pain, I found myself listening with great care and love but also with tremendous worry and anguish. Was I listening well?
Did my listening help? Looking back at that moment, I realized that I was actually reflecting their anxieties and fears as well as mine. Simply put, I was adding my own worry to theirs, and thus increased the load they were carrying. Had I received and placed them onto a pile of soft down feathers, reflecting trust and hope, my listening would have brought more peace and comfort.
A listening vessel receives. How do I receive what I hear? Am I an open or closed vessel? Large or small? Am I a porous vessel where the words go through without so much as leaving a trace? Am I a working vessel coming up with answers and “fixes” before the last sentence has even been shared? Am I a weaponized vessel rising my sword and preparing my offensive while the words are still being delivered? I have been all those vessels, and I have to ask myself what type of vessel I want to be. How do I want to receive what is being shared? How can I be fully present, not just quiet, as Krista Tippett justly points out.
To learn to listen better please refer to our “sounds listening practice” which works out our listening muscle.