Fr Jim Cogley
Apart from telling our story when someone is trying to tell theirs there’s lots of other ways we avoid truly listening. One is to listen with the answer running in our heads and seeking the first opportunity to say what we want to say. This is closely related to thinking we need to fix the other person whereby we have to come up with answers. Many are good at giving advice out of their vast store of wisdom. However no matter how good the advice happens to be, it is still bad news for the person who simply needs to be heard. A good indicator that someone is listening is where he or she maintains eye contact. When this is lost it usually suggests that the mind has wandered and the person is no longer present. The word ‘silent’ and the word ‘listen’ contain the same letters which suggests that in genuine listening there is always a need for a strong element of silence. It’s in the silence the Spirit speaks with language beyond words.