What we have to offer each other is ourselves—our listening, and our speaking
We are essentially in conversations with ourselves most of the time—how we listen is determined by our “concerns” (being successful, being liked, wanting to know “what’s in it” for us, how things will turn out, etc.). That voiceover, is not necessarily bad—it’s just that we don’t really hear the other person, or they us. What we’re saying to others, or they to us, might seep in from time to time, but it isn’t in what we or they are saying—it’s what we’re saying plus what they are saying about what we’re saying, which isn’t what we’re saying, vice versa. That dynamic has us miss out on the full possibility of communication—and the infinite worlds it makes available.
Listening without the filters of those concerns has enormous power. Listening is the clearing in which speaking can occur—it’s the possibility for understanding, for meaning, for being known and loved. Speaking is what allows for who and how we are in the world. It’s what allows for the futures we create, where our ideas become clear and possible, where we share ourselves, and where others are expanded by our participation with them. Speaking and listening are not just something we do in response to a world that exists outside of us—they’re what brings that very world into being—it’s through language that life really happens. When we see language this way—as that which gives rise to the world and that which gives access to what is in that world—it alters the very nature of what’s possible. When we look at what it is we have to offer each other, it’s only ourselves—our listening, and our speaking.
Landmark Forum leader
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