How many times a day do we feel that someone is not listening to us and think they must be “hard of hearing”? Is it hard of hearing or the heart of hearing that we suffer from most?

There are essentials tools we can utilize to develop our heart of hearing and the art of being silent. What is required, though, is to LISTEN and be SILENT. Both words have the same exact letters, no wonder. It is in the art of hearing that we also give someone the greatest gift of all, love and healing. When we truly listen to their words and silence, we hear what they are feeling. We are telling them that they matter to us; that what they have to say has extreme value to us (John 10:14,16).

The Oxford American Dictionary defines hearing as a verb; to listen to, and to be ready to obey. Even if someone is hearing impaired, we can still hear by using the faculty of our hearts to perceive body language and sound. Another definition of hearing is further clarified as focusing on a person’s face when they speak and listening to their words and their silence in totality.

Listening is not the same as hearing and hearing is not the same as listening. Faces can tell us a story, so we need to be able to understand their message or feeling.

The most powerful aspect of listening and hearing is that we can quickly perceive someone’s pain and an opportunity presents itself immediately to perhaps offer healing in their lives. Richard Rohr stated that, “pain that isn’t transformed is transmitted.” In times such as these, let us remind ourselves how important listening and silence is in the art of hearing.

We have our own role model that demonstrates for us exactly what it is we are to do in communicating and helping others to heal. In Psalm 116:1-2, the Word tells us that he listens to our voices with a humble intent to petition for us and that he turns his ear to us immediately when we call. We also learn from the Great Book that in attending to others and being still, we are loving others.

We are making lasting impressions on people when we accurately hear them. We prove this by listening longer, being silent, and smiling. It tells them that we care enough to remember their name and interests; that we have heard what they were saying. As Cheryl Richardson so clearly said, “Listen. People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”

We are, in a sense, leaving each person with a gift when we are quiet and heed their words. A gift of goodness, caring and love. Thoreau said it so well, “goodness is the only investment that never fails.”

We also receive a precious reward when we learn to listen to ourselves. This comes in the form of acquired wisdom and peace. There is a source of divine wisdom and if you can connect to that source, then it makes sense that in listening to our hearts it becomes a crucial way to access wisdom.

We can grow further by being silent long enough to rightly hear others when they are giving us challenging feedback. As Chaim Potok stated in his book, The Chosen, “I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”

Hard of hearing is not a condition related to aging or impairment, as much as it is a social disorder that expresses how pitifully we take note of our communications. Technology has not helped humankind in finding a cure either.

We all have some form of impairment but let us master the art of hearing by exhibiting a heart of hearing when we encounter each other. We are providing a gift; one that should be passed along. Let us be SILENT first as we LISTEN each time we engage with others. As Will Rogers stated once, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

Here are some other quippy quotes in which to help us become the maestro of our concerts of communications:

♦ Listen to silence. It has so much to say. — Rumi

♦ Saying nothing sometimes says the most. — Emily Dickinson

♦ Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. — Stephen R. Covey

♦ Most of the successful people I have known are the ones who do more listening than talking. — Bernard Baruch

Roman Betty Schaaf is a volunteer, a writer, a sojourner and a self-described wellness addict. Betty Schaaf’s email is bettyannschaaf@gmail.com.

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