30 Days of Inspiration : Learn to Listen

March is celebrated as Spiritual Wellness Month. It is a time to reflect on the values, ethics and morals that add value and give meaning to your life. Here at diGJamaica, we’re going on a quest for 30 days of inspiration: extracting the common principles from different religions and systems of belief that help their followers to find inner peace, purpose and direction. Each day for the month of March, we will be sharing another principle with you. Join us as we embark on this journey to spiritual wellness.

What we’ve covered so far:

Learn to Listen

Listening is not a casual activity. It is actually an important skill for effective communication. Many people confuse listening and hearing, but the two are very different. Hearing is the physical ability to use the ears to pick up sounds. Listening, on the other hand, is the ability to understand and interpret those sounds in a way that makes sense. Listening to what another person has to say is a key part of developing healthy relationships. We have to practise to listen on three levels. You must listen:

1. To others

  • When you’re talking to people, really pay attention to what they are saying. Ensure that your demeanour and body language indicate that you are giving your undivided attention. And don’t be in a hurry to speak your mind. Listen carefully, provide appropriate feedback, and ensure that you understand what is being said, inasmuch as you want to be understood.
  • Make time to listen to positive messages. This is intentional listening that provides you with wisdom to help your spiritual maturity. Whether it be music, audiobooks, sermons, or motivational speeches and messages, ensure that you spend time feeding your ears with something that uplifts your spirit and energises you.
  • Select friends who speak life into your life. Ensure that the people in your circle of influence are people who speak well to you and about you. Ensure that they genuinely care for you and tell you the truth. Not sure if you have these people? Listening is one way to get insight into what people think of you.

2. To yourself

  • Listen to what you sound like when you’re talking to and about other persons. What is your voice and tone communicating? Pay attention to what you say and how you say it. Ensure that you are saying what you mean to say in a way that clearly gets the message across. Listen to yourself. Practise self-awareness.
  • What is your internal dialogue like? How do you talk to yourself? When you make a mistake, do you call yourself stupid and foolish? When you’re in a group and describing yourself, do you do it in a deprecating way? Do you say things like, “I’m so dumb” and “I’m such a klutz” all the time? Be careful about the words you say to and about yourself. It may be evidence of low self-esteem. Speak life into your own life. Be kind to yourself. Recognise that you are only human and change your talk to and about yourself.
  • Learn to follow your intuition. Listen to your gut. Sometimes you already know the decisions you need to make and the path you need to travel, but you haven’t practised listening to your intuition.

3. To God (or the divine)

  • For those who believe in the existence of a divine or supreme being, this is a very important aspect of listening to practise. Learn to listen to God, whether it be through meditation and prayer, reading holy/sacred texts or other spiritual experiences. It is necessary for direction and guidance in life.