Listening to a deeper level takes skills. In the beginning of the movie August Rush, the main character says that “the music is all around us…all we have to do is listen.” Ironically, that actually made me begin to really think, not listen, about that statement. I thought, what does he mean by that?…and is there more to learn here than just the meaning that the producer of the movie had for us. Turn up your volume and watch the video so your on the same grain field as I was.
After reflecting during the rest of the movie, what it was saying to me was that I needed to listen deeper. For some of us it is hard enough to just listen to people, but now you want me to listen deeper? Listening deeper is seeing beyond just what someone is saying. It is (1) understanding what they are physically saying, (2) listening to what their body is saying and (3) feeling what they have said and THEN (4) putting it all together to hear or see beyond what they have said.
I have struggled with this with my wife, but I am beginning to think that this is what I have been missing. Early in my marriage, Nicki would say, “You knew what I meant” and I would say, “No I didn’t. Would you just say what you mean? I can’t read your mind.”. Now I step back and think, maybe if I would have just truly been listening deeper, I would have “heard the music”; I WOULD have understood what she was saying.
Now translate that to the other places where we have relationships; children, work, church , non-profit organization and others. I wonder how many times someone was trying to communicate to me, but I didn’t hear what they were truly trying to say; not because they were doing a bad job of communicating, but because I was not listening deeply what they were saying.
I have found a couple of activities that have helped me grow in this skill. One is to go outside alone where you won’t be distracted, find a place to sit or stand, close your eyes and listen deeply to every sound that you can hear for 5 minutes. Write them down in a journal and then repeat the next five days to see if you begin to hear deeper into life. For those of you that enjoy classical or piano music, you can do this same exercise by listening to a song with your eyes closed and writing down everything that you hear. You will know you are listening deeper when you begin change what you are writing down in your journal from notes and instruments to “feelings” and “tones”. I hope you enjoy this time truly listening and changing how you listen to life.
I think listening deeply has to do with us “walking slowly” through life with people instead of in a high speed rush as we miss so many moments and people that just pass us by. My challenge to you is to not just try to listen this week, but truly try to Listen Deeply. See beyond what the people that you have an opportunity to lead are saying. I know it is still a struggle for me, but one conversation at a time continues to make me a better listener and leader. It will for you as well, I promise.