The Art of Listening workshop:
Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. -Margaret Wheatley
This is a training approach to bring greater peace to your relationships and to yourself. We begin by listening to ourselves and opening compassion for what we are holding and expressing in our life. We will teach deep listening skills that will help in any conflict situation and foster reconciliation and the prevention of violence. Our objectives in sharing these listening skills are to deepen our understanding of our perspectives and the suffering of people on all sides of a disagreement or conflict. From this place we can build bridges between them.
True deep listening requires suspending our judgments and listening from an open heart, fostering empathy and compassion. Through the skills of reflective listening and non-adversarial questioning the listener generates healing in the heart of the speaker. Once this healing has begun, the listener builds a bridge by humanizing the other. When both sides understand the suffering of the other, reconciliation can begin.
These skills are simple to learn yet require mindfulness, practice, and a willingness to move towards peace. They require letting go of habitual patterns of communication that generate feelings of separation and fear. The skills can be learned by young and old alike. They can become part of one’s daily practice, giving the gift of listening to others and building a more peaceful and healthy world.