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Listening Deeply in Turbulent Times

In these turbulent times anxiety, frustration, fear and anger are the common experience for many people on all sides of the issues and our ability to listen to each other is being tested daily. Yet, we know that if we want to heal the rifts in our communities we need to listen deeply to each other so that we can understand each other and then we can also care for each other. These evenings will offer us the tools for listening based on the Buddhist teachings especially of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guan Yin), the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

We often do not really listen to each other. We often do not even listen to ourselves. Often what we are really listening to is our ‘commentating mind.’ We have judgments, reactions, and arguments that come up while listening, and we are no longer listening to what is being said but rather to our fears and judgments. When we learn and practice Deep Listening we can let go off the ‘commentating mind’ and really hear what is being said. Then we can start to understand each other and the suffering we each have. When we understand each other, we are less likely to feel polarized and antagonized, and we can accept and embrace others, even if we strongly disagree.

Once we learn to create space within ourselves, heal ourselves, and listen to ourselves and others in ways that alleviate suffering, we can come together and form listening circles that will enrich and offer healing to communities.