Man has survived all these years and over many centuries by experimenting with different forms of communication. Communication is very essential to our very survival even today. Back then we needed to find a way to communicate between ourselves either through signs or sounds. Later on it came down to writing on tablets. This helped transform thoughts into something which anyone could read and apply. This may have contributed to our survival as a species. Today we hold the position as the Apex predator. Not lions, tigers or crocodiles. We determine which species lives or dies. Weaponry has expanded, improved and modified many times over by taking it to it’s limits. Today technology has given us the ability to mimic any sound that is heard in nature. These sounds may disappear as Human civilization expands and takes over everything it seeks. This far cry will eventually fade out to extinction.
To understand the art of listening, we need to understand our brain. It is in fact a very complex organ and I feel very humbled by its complexity. It is much more powerful than the most advanced computer on Earth. It’s functions cannot be replicated nor understood fully. Surgical intervention is done with much ease in any other part of the body but the brain. This reveals it true nature of its advanced innervation and the complexity in its functionality. Our brain takes up more oxygen than our entire body combined. It does not sleep either. When we give our cells its much needed rest, the brain is what is keeping us alive by maintaining our vitals. It keeps our heart beating and our lungs breathing for us. This is a continuous process which lasts from birth to death and is non stop. Machines and computers do fail and need servicing. But our brain works tirelessly for us without even complaining. When was the last time our brain broke down? Guess what would happen to us in that event. Spare parts aren’t available either.
Right from birth we are instinctively trying to communicate in order to get attention by crying and thereby getting fed. Without communication we are going nowhere. At times we may even need to communicate with total strangers to get directions. We communicate with out teachers, friends, family, mentors etc. This form of communication is mainly done by way of speaking. It is voice enabled. So we are trained to be excellent speakers since Pre-K hence we are all supposed to be good talkers. But are we good listeners? Do we ever listen, process the data, and analyze it before replying. Sadly, this happens very rarely. We are not to be blamed for this, because this is what we were taught. Most of us are passive listeners . WE are listening only to prepare our response to that person. But are we actually listening to what he or she is saying. Most likely not.
When talking to a person we were taught to shake hands by introducing ourselves, making eye contact and to start with a conversation. Today this seems to be heading in the wrong direction. The basic respect, and manners along with the simple art of speech seems to be drifting away from us. Also we are seeing that our ears are closed and our mouth wide open. Animals spend most of their time listening to their surroundings by rotating their ears to scan for the faintest noise resonating from their predators. They do talk less and when they talk that’s about food or for a mate. That’s understandable. Words have the power to heal or to hurt. So we need to use our words very carefully before we let them out. Once it is out, it cannot be taken back. Sometimes less is more so listening more and talking less may serve us well.
By Listening with our mouth closed, we get to learn more about this person who is talking to us, he feels important, feels respected, he might feel like sharing more info and we may benefit by learning a thing or two from him or her. On the other hand, if all we do is talk that person might get bored and may try to avoid this one way conversation next time around. So the key here is to keep our mouth closed and let our ears do the talking and listening. Talking is important as well but it need to be done only when required. Gossip is the most common: time killer which is commonplace in hallways, offices, coffee rooms and cafeterias. It benefits no one, AND is highly contagious. There could be better uses of our time. Sometimes it is better to just listen than to talk. This is also much easier.