Are you listening or just hearing?

Is there a difference between hearing and listening? Are there obvious physiological differences? Could hearing be considered an involuntary autonomic function? Does listening require voluntary response to sensory input? Is listening an intentional act? Do we hear without intent? Can we listen without trying to do so?

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

Do we all think we are good listeners? Do we all know people who would disagree, if we made that assessment of ourselves? What is a good listener? What causes someone to be considered a “bad” listener? Can we listen well without being mindful? Do we need both attention and intention to be a good listener? What do we gain by being a good listener? Are there times that we just need to tune out from people, without hearing or listening?

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on

Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.--Dean Jackson

What skills will help to improve listening? Is intent and attention enough or are there basic skills required? Do we need to make a real effort to understand what is being expressed?

What is your primary focus as a listener? Could you be a better listener? How?

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