Listening Versus Filtering

Listen to your heart
"Listen" Image by * Polly * via Flickr

In the last blog entry I talked about listening…listening to learn…listening to know.  I have been cognizant of the purposes, skill, and practice of listening in the presence of people, and in doing so I am noticing as well how I can subtly change the practice of listening into the practice (skill) of filtering.  Experientially we have all done life up to this point; we have had relational patterns, protective patterns, generational patterns; we have all experienced (t)rauma – mini experiences of distress and our own responses in that distress; we have all developed ego states or patterns of functioning through which we “sense the world.”  Although from a functioning, survival perspective, I would encourage myself and others, by saying we learned brilliantly, without good/bad, right or wrong, to make it and protect ourselves in this world.  How we did that and are doing that, “being brilliant,” is that we have learned to create filters of receptivity and filters through which we communicate.  The filters although they are in place with protective and self-care purposes, are not always purposeful in authentic and mindful living because ultimately they can taint our receptivity of information, love, and mutuality of care. 

I don’t know about you, but I have found myself with intentions of listening, and filtering instead…in other words, listening too deeply or reading into the listening therefore changing the input.  Instead of listening and saying what is there for me to hear and take in, I find myself sometimes filtering something like this, “I wonder what she meant by that (defensively),” “Did you understand what he just said to me, he said I am self focused (when the person was talking about himself, for example),” or “Everyone is ignoring me, I guess I am supposed to be learning something by this…” (I am not the best at spontaneous examples, but I hope you understand.)

Obviously it is best that we continue to understand and dis-empower the filters or change them for the purposes of self-care versus self-protection, however, in the moment by moment process when you are practicing listening, check in to see if you are listening with the heart or filtering through the protectors…filtering is subtle…and yet what is initially protective, can keep us from reciprocating love.

If you are reading this thought and you think I am talking about you, then may I suggest you are filtering my words versus listening…I hope you are smiling.


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