Monday, August 23, 2010

Do You Truly Listen?

It is so easy at times to want to get caught up in the politics and current events of the day. If we consume the news and talking pundits as if there is no tomorrow, than our reality is often shaped by what is fed to us. You'll notice that instead of most news shows being based on fact, they are based on opinion. The facts just provide ground cover for the opinions in the world of news as we know it.

But there is a broader implication here as daily comments on news sites get thrown around as if they are the truth. When in fact, these comments are nothing more than opinion. You don't have to take my word for it either. Just watch and observe and you will see all of this in action.

Unfortunately, we have become a society that doesn't listen to one another. We value the opinions of others in such a degrading manner that we lack respect for one another. We truly show how little we care for others as we focus on making our viewpoint heard. It seems as if all that matters is what we have to tell others. It is as if we hold the truth and the most important thing to say in life.

We try to forcefully push our thoughts out that we don't even recognize we are doing this any longer. We've lost the art of listening and we've lost the respect we should have for one another. by doing this, we are not only making others less human but we are making ourselves less human. We have diminished the value of all persons.

Over a year ago, I quit watching the news and talking pundits each day on TV. I was tired of hearing people scream opposing viewpoints as if somehow this was a beneficial news production. It doesn't matter what side of the argument you are on, the opinions are hurled at the speed of light. News has become an entertainment show rather than something which is useful to our day. All the media knows to do is sensationalize events of the day. While many loathe and lament this practice, they would not tune in if the news outlets failed to do this. People need to be entertained and see a wow factor in order to participate in any media event these days.

One thing I've noticed since I stopped watching daily news, is that I'm not missing anything. I do read occasional headlines on the internet but rarely do I read an entire article. I'm sure the major news outlets like Fox, CNN, and MSNBC would cringe at the thought of this. Most of what is printed as news really doesn't matter to life. The tabloids, full of gossip, have now become fact. The opinions, disguised as fair and balanced reporting, has become truth. And all the while, the audience fails to notice this is taking place right before their eyes.

I find it disturbing that we have become a society which operates in this manner. We've lost the respect for one another and we fail to truly listen to each other. What does that truly say about each one of us as individuals. This is not something for the government or the politicians to fix. These things change from the individual level at the point of our consciousness and awareness.

My challenge goes out to people everywhere. Take a look at your own daily practices of listening. How do you listen to others? Are you waiting to say what is on your mind long before the person finishes their statement? Do you truly hear what the other person says? Only you can evaluate how you listen to others or how you don't.

I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give to another is to listen to them. There is no other practice that says to another person, you really matter, than listening to them. Listening with 100% of your mind, body and spirit to another person says I value you and I respect you. May we all be cognizant of just how much or how little we listen to each other.

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

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