“Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of the other person. You listen with only one purpose, to help him or her to empty his heart. And if you remember that, you are helping him or her to suffer less, and then even if he says things full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you can still continue to listen with compassion.
Because you know that listening like that, with compassion, gives him or her the chance to suffer less. If you want to help him or her and want to correct his perception, then you wait for another time. But for the time being, you just listen with compassion and help him or her to suffer less. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing.
Fear, anger and despair is born on the ground of wrong perception. We have wrong perceptions concerning ourselves and the other person and that is the foundation for conflict and war and violence.” Thick Nhat Hanh
So, even with people with whom you disagree, if you’re able to say :
“I have not understood enough of your difficulties and suffering and it is not my intention to make you suffer more. It is the opposite. Please tell me about your suffering and difficulties. I am eager to understand.”
And follow it with deep, compassionate listening, you can learn so much about the other person as well as your own perceptions. It is quite revealing.
In this way we can begin to end what leads to terrorism. And while terroristic qualities may seem obvious in others who seem insensitive or even angry, we can find it in ourselves too when we get upset with others and are critical of their lives, and what they hold dear.
With that in mind, catch yourself and consider for a moment your thoughts and words about politicians as you post something on social media or about your neighbor down the street who repeatedly knocks over your trash can, or about your wife who has become a relentless ‘nag’ or the person in the car beside you who just cut you off on the road.
Are you resembling a terrorist in some way or are you able to catch yourself and reconsider your thoughts, words, and actions thereby living in a different way?
Were you able to catch the terrorist in yourself today? Share your experience – it may help the person beside you.