Last Friday I went with a friend to Commonweal, a beautiful place, and heard Michael Lerner interview Jacob Needleman. Commonweal posts podcasts, so you can see interviews here:
I came home and re-read Jacob Needleman's book, A Little Book on Love.
I was General Evaluator last night at Toastmasters and I shared these words from the book, because at Toastmasters, there is a place to talk, and each week in our club, speeches are given, and then each speech is evaluated, and that requires us to listen.
In his book, Jacob Needleman suggests we "experiment with listening as though approaching it from zero. Only keep in mind the possibility of what you may discover - something astonishing: that the power and the ability and even the will to communicate, to express oneself, arises directly out of listening."
I love that, that the power, ability, and will to communicate, to express oneself, "arises directly out of listening".
He continues, admitting that it is challenging to listen to other than ourselves. He concludes with this: "It takes a certain inner choice to attend for more than a few seconds to the continuity of the other's words and expressions. Trying in this way, a man or woman discovers that intentional listening to the other brings about a new kind of listening to oneself. And this kind of self-listening, far from impeding the flow of communication between people, actually allows the beginning of a new quality of exchange."
"a new quality of exchange"
Many years ago, my husband and I spent a great deal of time and money learning to communicate. We participated in workshops and private sessions with Dan and Mudita.
We learned to reflect: "Oh, is this what you meant?" "No, actually, I was saying this." "Oh, you were saying this," and on and on it went, and goes, until there is a place of melting, and I would say, bliss.
We are at a time in history when we can learn the skills to communicate, to begin to learn to speak, and listen, but if that is blocked, if we are unable to receive another, and through that, ourselves, well, then, how sad is that?