Listening is an Art.

Listening is an Art

“Listening is an art not easily come by, but in it there is beauty and great understanding. We listen with the various depths of our being, but our listening is always with a preconception or from a particular point of view.”~ J. Krishnamurthi

According to the dictionary, the word ‘listen’ means ‘To make an effort to hear something’. What is listening? Hearing the sound of the person talking, or understanding what he is saying? We all are guilty of hearing the words but not their meaning. We can see their lips move, can make out the sound of their words but we don’t listen to what they are trying to tell us.

There are many kinds of listeners. Some are busy forming a reply in their heads while pretending to listen to the other person talk. They are so eager to share their thoughts that they ignore what is being said and hear only the words they are going to reply to. In this kind of conversation, there is no depth or understanding of the emotions. It’s just noise replying to some more noise. There is no connection, only unnecessary chatter and din.

When you make a conscious effort to really listen to somebody, you hear their true feelings and thoughts. Their words acquire a life of their own; you can see their dilemmas, their challenges and their triumphs. You can listen to their souls. This is true listening with your heart. Don’t make a mental list of what it is you are going to say in response to his/her statements. Don’t keep ticking off points in your head, countering his/her comments.

Just open your ears and heart and really look at them. Let their revelations enter your mind. Absorb the essence of their words, understand their reasons for saying what they are and listen to them, actually listen. Then respond…

“Listening has importance only when one is not projecting one’s own desires through which one listens. Can one put aside all these screens through which we listen, and really listen? “~

 J. Krishnamurthi


There are all kinds of listening:

a. Selfish listeners              : Interrupt and throw up their responses, purge themselves.

b. Lazy listeners                  : Hear the speaker’s points and zone out for a long time, then reply.

c. Unconcerned listeners : Hear but don’t reply.

d. True listeners                 : Listen, understand, and respond with intelligent sensitivity.

What kind of a listener are you?




Sulekha Rawat








6 thoughts on “Listening is an Art.

  1. I try to be a "True listener" or mindful listener. I loved the quote by Krishnamurthi. What a great post! I'm going to share it on fb!

    I read a great book by Thich Naht Hanh not too long ago, "Creating True Peace" and in it he talks about mindful listening and how the greatest gift we can give another is the give of being present with another person during conversation. It's so true!

  2. I was reflecting on this and I came to realize that listening entails creativity and lots of it 🙂 I agree it is an art.

    When I was younger I heard my heart saying that I wish to be with children. So I thought of becoming a missionary. However, over the years, through active listening, I discovered that God wishes me to be in another place. I think when we truly listen enough, we'd know our place in this world ~ because it'll make us happy.

    Listening = Obeying 🙂

    Referring to your other point, listening to words that are not said but opening the ears and the heart…let me rephrase that a bit to 'opening the ears of the heart' 🙂

    Listening = creating space to people

    As to the kind of listener, I guess I'm all of those you've listed…depending on the person I'm listening to 😛

    This is a very beautiful reflection, I'll take time to digest this more over the week 🙂

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