We Are About: Compassionate Listening

Do you believe listening can change the world? Because I do. I know this is possible because I've experienced its change-making power inside my soul. I've also witnessed the effects of true listening on the lives of others.

Not only that, but I've seen how one soul changed by the power of listening produces a multiplication effect: we listen, because we've been listened to. The more we listen, the more we invite others to do the same, and slowly the whole of humanity gets lifted up.

That's why one entry in the JTN manifesto declares that we are about:

Compassionate listening that heals, empowers, and ultimately creates a more loving human family.

You may wonder, what exactly is compassionate listening?

Compassionate listening is the act of "listening and feeling with."

It is the act of entering as fully into another person's experience as humanly possible, simply with the intent to understand.

Not with the intent to demonstrate how much we understand.

Not with the intent to share our own related experience.

Not with the intent to give advice.

Not even with the intent to heal, empower, or better the world.

Simply to know them.

It means being fully present to another person. Putting aside our own ego. Laying down our own desire to speak and be listened to. Casting aside our assumptions about the other person and the experiences they're relating to us.

It means holding open the possibility that another person's thoughts and feelings and reactions could be -- and almost certainly are -- different than our own would be, simply because the whole of their life experience carries different associations and memories and meanings than ours does.

Compassionate listening accords another person the dignity of their own life, story, experiences, and humanity. It is a truly human act. And it has the power to change the world, one listened-to soul at a time.

Do you believe in this? How do you embody and/or experience this kind of listening in your own life?