I’ve noticed that when most people begin speaking, they stop listening, thinking that their turn to listen comes when they stop speaking and someone else begins to speak. During their speaking, forgetting as they do to listen, they become broadcast stations, transmitting pre-recorded messages to their audience of one, two, or a thousand.
Broadcasting is not authentic speaking. In order to speak authentically — and effectively — we have to listen while we speak. Actually, we have to listen before we speak, while we speak, and after we speak.
What do we listen to, and for? We listen to the silence that precedes our speaking, we listen to what we say and how we say it. We listen to the place from where our words come. We listen to hear if we are speaking our truth, or if we are lying. We listen to our body and how we feel while we’re speaking. We listen to our body. We listen to our breath. We iisten to the silence between and behind our words. We listen to our audience. We listen for the effect we are having. We listen to what is going on around us. We listen for the level of attention in our audience. We listen to the passing of time. We listen to the stillness or commotion in the minds of our audience. There is virtually no end to what we listen to and for.
Listening is really awareness. When we speak, we have to reamain aware. Most people are not aware of what they are saying and how they are saying it, not really. They do not listen. It is the degree of our real time listing, our in-the-moment awareness, that determines the quality, the authenticity, and the true impact of our speaking.
Speaking and listening are not two separate activities, or functions. They are one. In order to listen and speak as a single unified form of communicating, we need awareness. Awareness and silence are the same. So our speaking needs listening, and they both depend upon silent awareness.
It’s when our speaking merges with listening that silent awareness becomes our first language, our mother tongue. And in this language, though we do use words, our listening, our awareness, is so keen that what we actually do is transmit awareness, presence, openness. Of course, we communicate our “message,” but when we do that while listening, truly listening, communication becomes something rare, wonderful, exhilarating.