What do you do when you are listening? How does one “listen?”
It seems to me that the key to listening is maintaining an attitude of “not knowing”.
That is not easy.
Often we just automatically jump to a conclusion.
Often that conclusion says more about our own prejudices than it does about what the other person is saying.
I also find it powerful not simply to suspend judgements (in as far as that is possible) but to also actively investigate and question as to what sort of assumption set the speaker is coming from.
One way of framing it is to say that it is most powerful to listen from nothing (from a place without preconceptions). That way we have the greatest chance of actually hearing what the other intended us to hear, and take the meaning from it that they intended us to take.
Hi OM, Deb et al
It seems to me that our experience of being as conscious entities is the result of many levels of recursive software systems operating in our very complex brains.
It seems that there are potentially infinitely many levels of awareness one can transcend to, and, as each new level seems to be context dependent, it also seems that the habitual aspect of brain keeps taking our awareness back to earlier levels of awareness as context changes.
It seems that we are able to influence (though not totally control) the context of our being through conscious application of will.
Thus, it seems, that we are able to successively and recursively, create contexts of awareness that allow us to appreciate different aspects of both reality (that which is) and possibility (that which may yet become real).
Reality seems to be finite in any given instant (though vast beyond the ability of any human mind to appreciate), and possibility seems to contain an infinite number of infinite classes. And it seems that there are also an infinite number of classes that exist as impossible.
Getting back to consciousness, it seems that we are each very complex beings, that have many different software systems within us, and which one gets to dominate our conscious experience is very much dependent upon the context of the moment. The more aware we become, the more control we are able to exert over that context – and it is always possible for us to be “caught unaware” and thrust back into an earlier and lower mode of awareness and response.
Various traditions have given various names to some of these different levels and states of awareness, and any explanation of just what they are that precedes the development of computer software and games theory is unlikely to capture the essential nature of the processes that are occurring.
Once again I will stress, that the complexity of the subconscious processes that give rise to the conscious experience is so much greater than the ability of the conscious to comprehend in detail, that all we can ever do is get a general appreciation for the sorts of classes of activity that are occurring. Prediction will forever be beyond our conscious ability (though our intuitions can get extremely accurate with practice).