Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Empathic Listening

Communication Discussion Group


Listening is the pivotal skill we need to develop if we want to create a world of peace, health and love around and within us.
Real listening involves an attitude of total involvement with the person talking to us; entering the private perceptual world of the other and becoming thoroughly at home in it. It requires being sensitive, moment by moment, to the changing felt meaning which flow in this other person, to the fear or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever that he or she is experiencing. It means temporarily living in the other’s life, moving about in it delicately without making judgments, living aside all our prejudices, views, and preconceptions, when at the same time being in touch with how this other’s story and emotions are impacting in our body-mind. In this way we listen out and within, constantly attending to the other person’s words, emotions, body language, incongruences, and mental constructions, and we check constantly how this is impacting us by being aware of our feelings, body sensations, strong emotions and mental chatter.


Empathy is the quality used as we listen to other’s story as if “we are in their shoe”. Empathic listening centers on the kind of attending, observing, and listening- the kind of “being with”- needed to develop an understanding of people and their worlds.  Such empathic listening is selfless because we must put aside our own concerns to be fully with others.

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