Listening With All Our Senses

Once I walked into my boss’s office. His head was bent over the desk resting in his hands. There was no energy in the room. The company president looked up at me with bleary eyes, “Gary, no one listens to me.”

To which I, Vice President of a bunch of stuff, replied, “Huh?”

“No one listens to me.”

“Huh?”

Then he caught it. The spell was broken. We could have the discussion on whatever problem of the day I had.

A newsletter dropped into my inbox this morning. An engineer whom I respect discussed his education on “listening” to machinery when he was troubleshooting a problem in the field. It was beautiful. You listen to the sounds. Feel for vibration with your fingertips. Drink in smells from the electrical cabinet and the machine. Watch how it operates. You “listen” with all your senses.

Psychotherapist Carl Rogers on listening: “Some of you may be feeling that you listen well to people, and that you have never seen such results. The chances are very great indeed that your listening has not been of the type I have described.” He suggested that his readers conduct a short experiment when they next found themselves in a dispute: “Stop the discussion for a moment, and institute this rule: ‘Each person can speak up for himself only after he has first restated the ideas and feelings of the previous speaker accurately, and to that speaker’s satisfaction.’”

These are examples of listening to people and things. Perhaps we need to pause, turn on all of our senses, and listen to God in the same way. Try to really “hear” what is said. Try to understand the meaning of the message.

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