Reach Out

How and Why to be an Amazing Listener

communication conversing holding space inner work listening presence psychological safetey Jan 05, 2022

This is one of the most important talks I've ever given and will ever give.

The way we listen changes the way people talk, and what they are willing to share. It also is the way we create shared meaning with others. Listening can heal the world. We will not get far as a species without excellent listening. It is one of the most important life and leadership skills you can ever learn. 

So, how do you do it? How do you listen so that others feel heard? We'll explore this and more.



All right, we are live, ladies and gentlemen,

close this door here.

So what is up, we're live once again, on Wednesday evening, thank you for being here. If you are here, I would love for you to please drop a note in the chat, just say Hey, say your name if you'd like.

It really helps me when I go when I do these live things to know who's in the audience. And just to know that they exist that you exist that you're here, you're here with me, thank you so much for coming.

And today we're going to talk about

we're going to talk about a topic that is, in my opinion, one of the most important talks or topics that I could talk about for the world. And that is the topic of listening. We're going to talk about listening. Today, we're going to talk about why I think listening is such an important skill to have in life and leadership, generally speaking,

like you come to planet earth, you learn how to listen, that's how it should go.

We're going to talk about what it takes to become a good listener, and what it means to be a good listener. We're going to talk about levels of depth and listening. And we're going to be talking about some buzzwords like, what does it mean to hold space for people.

And we're going to end with an idea that is called internalization. how other people and you will probably relate to this yourself. You internalize the presence of other people. In other words, when you even if you're alone, other people are with you in your head. And when you bring those people to mind, they have an effect on you. And being a good listener is probably the most important thing that you can do. To be the kind of person for whom, when other people bring you into their head,

it enlivens them and inspires them and makes them feel like they can be fully themselves. So once again, thank you so much for joining.

My name is Josh, if you don't know me. And again, if you're just joining me, please drop your name in the chat I really appreciate when you do that makes me feel connected to you.

So we are going to begin with I'd like to share a personal story about listening.

I want to talk about the first moment,

probably in my life that I realized consciously how important listening was. And I was on the receiving end of a very good listener, my friends, Brian.

It was the very first Enneagram class I took. I was living in St. Louis, I was 27. So was about seven or so years ago.


this class is run by a person named Sandy who

he ran a lot of classes in St. Louis, out of his home that were about spiritual growth and self awareness and introspection, things like that. And I took a lot of his classes I loved I loved being in his community. And I took a class with him on this thing called the Enneagram. Which if you don't mean I'm obsessed with and I also now teach.

What So the story is, Brian and I were paired in this class

by Sandy as quote unquote, listening partners, listening partners, that was a term coined by Sandy and the idea was that Brian and I were going to be co students in this class supporting each other and our Enneagram learning journey and through the transformation available through Enneagram insights by listening with each other.

That listening partnership was probably the most powerful and life changing part of that class with me which and by the way, that's saying a lot because that class was very life changing for me.

And what Brian gave to me was a kind of

unconditional positive attention, a kind of unpressured.

Attention in which


you maybe not the first time in my life, but for the first time for this particular thing. It was like the first time I'd ever experienced feeling utterly emotionally safe with another person, utterly, in which I felt like I could say anything and this person wouldn't think less than me.

And that was very important for me, because there there was a secret that I kept for years and years and years in my life something that

Something that I was ashamed of that I did, that he was the first person I ever said out loud this person to actually listen to, I said, it's a one of the person, a therapist once, and then the session after it. After I told her about this, then I fired my therapist, and here's what it is, I'll share with you now. It's interesting, I used to have a very hard time talking about this in public. And now I'm talking about on YouTube Live. I had a history of cheating in school, and history of cheating in school, I grew up in a family in which being a good student was very important. And I could go into a whole story about this being in Enneagram, three in a culture in which academia is important, performing up to certain academic standards. And

well, one of the things that I did was I cut some corners.

And I never told anybody about this sort of that one therapist that I fired, and I thought I would keep a secret, I thought I would go to the grave with this one secret.

And I was finally able to share it with my friend Brian, because of the because of the power of his listening.

That's a really, it's an important statement, I want to I want to unpack in a lot of ways the power of his listening.

And I want to talk about, that's what this is, that's what this whole YouTube Live is going to be about is what does it mean, for listening to be powerful? What does it mean for listeners to be powerful?


Just to finish that quick story I shared about the cheating with my friend Brian. And then that opened up the floodgates of this secret that I've kept for many years, and opened up a healing journey that took me many years with therapy and classes in the Enneagram and other spiritual work, in which I finally came to be able to really accept myself and love myself. And, and even it changed a lot about my life. It was this, I had no idea how powerful there's a dark chamber of my inner world was. And then finally, when I when I felt I was able to open it in the presence of my friend Brian, and in that class, anywhere in class, that's like, what those people

changed everything. Because it allowed for me to

incorporate and it allowed me to face parts of myself that I had not wanted to face before because I never felt

safe enough, sharing them, not just with myself, but God forbid I share them with other people and what they might think of me. And because of because of Brian's listening, because of his power was listening, I was able to finally share that. Okay, so that's, it's been a while for me in my life. I also think that listening is just so important for the world because there's so much freakin noise, not just right now, but especially right now. There's no There's political noise, you turn on the news, there's people talking about you people, you're getting pummeled all the time, with different people's opinions. And it can feel very much like there's not a lot of space for you to exist, and certainly not a lot of space, not many relational spaces in which it's possible for you to listen more deeply to yourself.

Okay, and that's paradox that we're going to talk about in a little bit is the how a relationship how being in relationship with someone else can help you listen more deeply to yourself, if the other person is a good listener.

The other thing too, is that there's so much vitriol, I would say politically, right now in our world, and so much polarization on many, many issues. And one of the problems is that we are we've it's as if we've lost the ability to elicit it's as if we've lost it as a

almost as a species. Not really, but like, it certainly does seem that way. If you look at the headline news headlines, it's very rare. If you watch any of the presidential debates, it's very, very unusual to watch a person really listening and taking in what someone else is saying, and then responding from a deep place from place of having understood that person. It's very, very, very rare to see that these days. And I think it's one of the antidotes that will heal our world is is good listening.

The other thing is that

one of the most common complaints in a conflict and any couples conflicts in any co founder conflict if you're

on any leadership team, on just about anywhere where human beings are having conflicts. One of the most common complaints is that you're not listening to me. You're not listening to me.

Being heard


one of the most fundamental needs

Human beings, okay, people think of the fundamental needs of human beings they think of like food, water, shelter, these kinds of things. Yeah, those are important. Okay? Can't go very far without those. But like the next rung up are things like belonging, and love and affection. And listening is a form of that. And if you're not listened well to in your life, especially as a kid, but even as an adult, then you live a very lonely existence and all kinds of traumas and depressions and things like that can result from that from a from an environment in which listening is rare and not prioritize. Okay.

So this is some reasons why I care about listening a lot. I think listening is is, is like war, we can't, we will not heal a state of the world. Without listening, we will not resolve political gridlock, we will not work through environmental catastrophe, we will not see a decline in the divorce rate. In marriages, we won't see, we won't see happy, healthy conscious friendships and relationships, platonic and romantic. Without an increase in the awareness of why listening is important, how to listen well, what it takes to be a good listener, and

just like a one on one, back to basics, education and listening itself. So let's dig into it.

All right.

I'm gonna talk right now, I'm gonna give five reasons

why you should consider getting better at listening, not just for the world, but for you and your life. And for you, and the quality of your relationships for you, as a leader for you, as a person in your family for you, as a sibling, for you, as a wife, or a husband or a partner or whatever, for you get better at listening. Okay?

Number one,

the way you listen,

changes the way people talk.

And what they're willing and not willing to share,

the way you listen, changes the way people talk, and what they're willing and not willing to share. Okay?

The quality of your presence, and the attention that you are paying or not paying to the person in front of you

creates a relational space in which certain things are available to happen, and certain things are not available to happen. Okay. So if I am rummaging around doing the dishes, or even if I'm right, if I'm right here present with if I'm look like I'm present, and I'm paying attention, kind of to you. But internally, I'm preoccupied or I'm thinking about work or whatever, and the other person senses if you can set your in front of me, and you can sense that I'm not really paying attention to you.

Do you think that you're going to share your deep, dark, secret secret with me or that you're going to be able to share in a way that helps you feel relieved? What your day was like today? And how you how you're feeling right now? Do you think?

No, the answer is no. It's

unless you've done a lot of inner work. And you can kind of call me back to presence. But the deal is, is that the the quality of attention you pay to another person

determines what is possible in that relationship. It determines if you see, here's one of the here's, there's a and there's a deep point, not just I mean, I think it's deep already, frankly, what I'm saying but there's there's one level one layer more of depth around this is that

the quality of your attention

is it's it sets the container for what is possible right now in this relationship moments with another person and is prior to what the other person says. Okay, most people think relationship means two people talking and sharing words and meaning and stories with each other. Yeah, that's part of it.

But but that that exchange exists in a container that is established by the quality of attention, that you were painted the person and the other person is paying to you.


Okay, that's prior to what to share. That's prior. Okay.

You might wonder, like, ask yourself right now, are you the kind of Do people ever share their depths with you?

Are you the kind of person who

Who, in whose presence people feel invited to share their deaths?

Okay, and that might be a really hard question to face that the answer was no.

So that's what this video is about how to become that kind of person. Alright, so that was number one, the way you listen changes the way people talk, what they're willing to share and the quality of the relational space that you are helping to create. Number two,

listening helps people

sense for their own inner truth.

Okay, most people think that you know, who you are, or what you believe, or, you know, this idea of like, just be yourself. Like, you know, I see all the time on Instagram things like, just be yourself, just be yourself. Okay, well, how do you know what that is? How do you know?

You could sense in private. And that's very useful. That's very useful. But it is very also useful to be witnessed by a loving, attentive, deeply attentive other, to help you discover more of yourself.

Okay, there's a woman named Christine Caldwell, who wrote a book called Getting our bodies back. And she's, she's a therapist is an addiction therapist, it's a fantastic book about the role of the body in not just addiction theory, but therapy and inner work and growth in general. And she has this beautiful point about the idea of witnessing another person, it's like her she, and

I'll see if I can find the quote, and then I'll put in the comments. But her point is that it's as though we've lost, there's a there's an art, and frankly, science to but there's there's really an artfulness to, to witnessing the essence of another person.

Like Bob, they're in the room with someone and just like seeing their essence,

the act of me, without even saying anything without even saying a word, the act of me sitting with you, and just

knowing your innate coolness, your your essential self.

Goes back to point one, the quality of attention and paying provides the crates that relational space me doing that

helps you to sense more deeply who you really are. It allows you to quiet your inner clutter, it allows you to, it gives you the space and the permission to share whatever's on your mind. And to to go through a process of self discovery in my presence. You see,

like a lot of people need to talk their way to clarity. Clarity is the thing that's very difficult to have about who you are and about what is important to you. And for instance, how do you act in a particular situation? A lot of times you don't know right away, some people do. Most people don't. Most people don't. And it's and a lot of people use talking to help themselves clarify what is most life forward for them and most aligned and congruent with who they really are, and how they want to move forward and world. And it's very difficult to just talk to Well, that's what other people are useful.

Not just useful, but precious. It's like, we help each other know each other.

We help each other know ourselves.

I can help you know yourself morning, but you can help me know myself more deeply. And

by doing that we become more deeply in contact with each other.

My favorite thinker about this idea is a guy named Parker Palmer.

Palmer if you're not aware of him, he is a he's a fascinating life story. He was a an academic he was he got a PhD in Sociology, I think in California at Berkeley, I want to say, and he was on track to become the president of the university, he got burned out in academia and felt like he was living a life of just going through the motions and meaninglessness, and he took a year sabbatical and moved to a Quaker community.

And the Quaker people have an entire religion that is specifically about helping each of the members of the community, listen for the voice of their inner teacher.

Think about that for a second. So listening for the voice of the inner teacher. And they have so just let me just give me they have lots of community practices in which the point is for you to listen for the voice of the inner teacher.

Their whole way of life around it. It's quite profound, and I recommend that you check it out. Let me just give you a couple of examples. In a Quaker community equation. A Quaker worship service works like this. People get into a room.

There was a determined amount of time, let's say two hours.

And we begin in silence.

And when one person wants to say something,

they stand up and they say it.

And then they sit down. And then there's more silence.

That's it. That's the whole, that's the worship service. Okay. And what people are doing is they're, they're listening for their inner teacher.

And they're using the worship service space to listen more deeply for that. And then if they feel like they have something that is worth sharing, or that that would, if they feel like speaking would help them get more in contact with it, then they are invited to stand up and share.

There's another thing to do they have the thing called a clearness committee clear goodness, like clarity clear this committee,

which is, let's say you're struggling with a life decision, like should I take a job or not.

You can invite four to six of your close friends who you really trust, who really who you feel really see you

to form a clearness committee.

And for the space of two, three hours or some predetermined amount of time.

What they do their role is to ask you questions, to help you get more in contact with your own truth.

And they're not allowed to ask closed questions like yes or no questions. They're not allowed to ask like, Have you thought of this? Or do you prefer this or that?

They're supposed to ask open questions that come from a place of they couldn't possibly know the answer to those questions. They're not there's no advice.

The people on the clearness committee are not speaking or advising.

The person who's at the center of the clearness committee,

the members of the clearness committee are simply asking questions to evoke more truth from within the person at the center. Okay, that's the whole point.

And I want to share a quote, actually, this is my one of my favorite quotes, probably all time, actually, this is from a book of his called, Let your life speak. And the subtitle of that book is listening for the voice of vocation. And

actually, let me just say one of the things before shuts cool is that Parker Palmer's now life work, he spent what he he spent a year sabbatical in a Quaker community. And then he was like, This is great. And he stayed for 10 years. And then afterwards, he left and he moved to Wisconsin, and

he founded something called the Center for courage and renewal, which uses Quaker practices in something he calls circles of trust, where people come together and

do basically Quaker practice, like students sit in silence.

Have clearness committees for people to listen for the voice of their teacher.

And it's just beautiful, beautiful work. And really what it's about is listening is how do we in his words, how do we hear each other into speech?

How do we hear so that's his listening is listening is first and then the other person speaks.

And we hear each other into speech. In other words, the very act of hearing, the very intention to hear someone is the invitation that the other person needs to then speak their way to truth or clarity.

You see?

Okay, so here's the quote,

and our culture,

we tend to gather information in a way that does not work very well in the sources the human soul.

The soul is not responsive to subpoenas, or cross examinations.

At best, it will stand on the dock only long enough to plead the Fifth Amendment.

At worst, it will jump bail and never be heard from again.

The soul speaks its truth, only under quiet, inviting, and trustworthy conditions.

The soul is like a wild animal, tough, resilient, Sadie, self sufficient, and yet, exceedingly shy.

If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out.

But if we're willing to walk quietly into the woods, and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree,

the creature we are waiting for may well emerge

and out of the corner of an eye, we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.

Want to think about listening?

The scope always comes to mind. And

in a way what listening is is

Is the relational competence that allows for two people to come together and then

wait to witness the precious wildness that is in each of us.

So number three, listening heals.

Listening is healing.

You better believe that in those Parker Palmer retreats and the circle of trust that he that he does, there's a lot of healing going on, because it's very, very unusual to be listened to as deeply and as patiently as the way that he trains people to listen in those tricks.

And I want to give another quote from a book that I love called healing for the dark emotions by Miriam Greenspan.

Okay, so here's the quote.

Because of the difficulty and the power of listening to pain,

millions of people spend millions of dollars seeking out the help of professional lit listeners called psychotherapists.

To be a professional listener is to enter a terrain without destination.

Listening is more than hearing words, or deciphering meaning from the kuna form of body language.

Webster's tells us that listening is hearing with thoughtful attention.

But in listening closely, there is also a kind of suspension of thought.

One listens with the limbic system,

a 30 year of intuition, as much as with the cerebral cortex,

emptying oneself to allow another story to enter, opening to the energetic movement of emotion empathically joining with someone else's experience,

this is the secret of all successful therapy, regardless of the training or theoretical orientation of the therapist, by a kind of grace, good listening, transforms suffering.

It's amazing, it's just amazing to me, what listen can do. It's

a power of listening is hard to grasp.

If you've first of all, never experienced it, we've never been on the receiving end of it.


it seems so simple and quiet.

It's like, what do you mean the person is just sitting there?

We're going to talk a little later about like, what are you allowed to say quote unquote, what can you say when you're listening to somebody? Are you supposed to just sit there like a brick wall and not reflect anything back to the other person who are not supposed to talk if you're listening?


But there are certain things that

are good reflective listening and not good reflective listening. But this idea of empathically joining with someone else's experience is so powerful that is as she says, I mean that is that is what heals that is what and it doesn't matter what theoretical orientation therapist comes from.

Research has proven time and time again, this is from well, a lot of different studies, but I learned it in a book called The Brain wise being a brain West therapist by Bonnie Badenoch. So many studies have proven that the single most important ingredient

in the in the success or failure of a therapeutic relationship is the empathic capacity of the therapist.

How much empathy is the therapist capable of?

How how empathically joins can the therapist be with you?

Can you feel that? Can you can you feel how, how powerful indeed that is or wondering one more quote from this book from the mirror in Princeton book.

Without a listener, the healing process is boarded.

Human beings like plants that bend towards the sunlight, bend toward others in an innate healing Trumpism.

There are times when being truly listened to is more critical than being said.

Listening well to another's pain is a primary source form of nurturance capable of healing even the most devastating of human afflictions, including the wounds and scars and violence, even the horrors of war and large scale social trauma.

Children speak their pain automatically when there is a listener. But learn to hide it when there is no ear to hear.

That last sentence is crucial. Children's speak their pain automatically

When there is a listener,

but learn to hide it when there is no ear to hear.

See, listening comes first, the space, the relational space in which speaking is possible has to be established first, before the speaking happens.

What happens without that space, if you're just sort of moving around in the world, you're not creating that kind of space in which this kind of deep speaking, speaking about your pain, or about how you really are

without that, without that space, what happens? Well, you probably experienced that daily, this is just what life is like, you know,

turn on any sitcom, and you're and you'll get, you'll see a pretty good example of it. That's obviously a scripted artful form of it sometimes,

but are just like normal bar chatter, or like if you go to lunch with friends, nor most of the time,

conversation takes the form of


which is, which has the same root as the word percussion is just begging, just sounds bang, okay? It's not really listening. Okay, I'm not saying By the way, that there's not a time in place for just banging around and talking knots. I'm not saying that, okay, I'm just, what I'm saying is that if we're not, if we're not also

skillful in creating the kinds of relational spaces in which this deep listening and deep sharing can happen, then our hearts don't feel like they belong in the world. Our souls don't feel like they belong in the world.

There becomes a dis a, a huge separation between our private life and our public life.

How we show up in normal being around just like shooting, shooting a ship conversation

is very different from how we show up when there is a relational space in which deep listening is happening. And in which I feel more invited

to share what is really in my depths.



period, Okay, number four, listening shows you care. This is probably an obvious one. But I want to just say this in an exclusive way.

I love the phrase, people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Most of the time, conversation happens in the following way. I share a little bit about maybe how things were going with my day. And then the person sitting across me will say things like, Oh, that's cool. Have you thought about this? Or what about this? Or, or you shouldn't feel the way you should really. And that's depending on my mood or my states that is maybe fine. But if there's something really going on with me,

you know, or put yourself in my position, you know, if you're really sharing if you had a hard day, and there's something going on with you. And you share with me, like

Yeah, I had a hard day, you know, somebody said this one thing, and it was like really frustrating. And I said something to you like,

Oh, you shouldn't care people think?

Can you feel? How can you feel the dismissiveness in that? Can you feel how it's different? If I say


I'm sorry to hear that. What? How are you feeling right now?

In a sense, it's like, I'm just, I'm just like rolling out more carpet for them. It's like, oh, and what about now? And tell me more about that. And I'm coming from like a place of curiosity.

And with my with my question and my attention, I am inviting them to unfold themselves a little more. Whatever, got whatever they're holding in. I am curious, but I wanted to come out. And, um,

yeah, people don't know. People don't care what you know, until they know how much you care. Why did I bring that up? Because

most people jump to advice and problem solving, oh, that person or you shouldn't care. You shouldn't care what people think or Oh, whatever. Like, or did you just think to tell him this?

Those kinds of things are dismissive and,

and very frustrating to be on the receiving end of and they come from a place maybe of like, I get, you know, maybe have good intentions by sharing that stuff.

Are you wanting them to see their own value? I get that there's a good intention behind those kinds of statements. But they don't work. This period, they don't, they don't work. They don't work because of the way that they are received. And

you know, for a person to be open to your advice. They first have to understand that you're with them. They have to feel it's like there's a there's a kind of there's a sequence to things okay, that's what I'm that's what I'm that's the point of me.

Think there's a sequence of things, someone's in pain. The first thing that has to happen is they have to have, they have to feel like their pain is heard and understood.

Nothing can happen until that happens. I mean it nothing, you cannot move forward in the conversation until that happens, you can try. Okay, you can just steamroll the person says what you should do, or the site should be thinking about it. But it's not going to work. The person's not going, it's not going to actually affect the person, it's not going to, it's not going to help them transform or move forward. Emotionally. What's going to happen is they're gonna shut down.

They might even pretend to carry on and say, say, Oh, that's good advice. Yeah, no, thanks. But,

but now there's missing you.

Now that they've just what's happened internally for them, as they just said, Okay, this person's not gonna listen to me. So I'll just, I'll just pretend to agree with them, and then move on to a different part of the conversation.

So see, most people interrupt, and then put their truth on top of yours. It's like, here's something that's going on with me. And then other people are like, Oh, well, here's how we really should be. No, that's, that's not useful, not useful.

Parker Palmer has this idea of letting our truth beside the truth of others, not on top, but beside, together, we're weaving a tapestry of human truth. Here's my thread, here's your thread. And when the two are laid, lay next to each other, then gently and with respect, there is a way that

we can both be co explores the human condition together.

But if I share something, and then you were like, no, no, this is the way it is, then

we just lost our relationship. We're not in relationship anymore, you see.

The other thing too, I want to say about listening is that people speak at different rhythms. This is a really tactical point. But it's very exciting. It's a big deal is that people, people's bodies move in different rhythms. And people speak at different rhythms. And if you are a faster speaker,

then the person you most conversation, the pace of most conversation is set by the faster speaker.


that's a that's a fan for the slow speakers, because the slow speakers, there's just as much going on inside. And they might need more spaciousness in the conversation to

sit and listen for what truth is being revealed to them inside. But if a person is quick on the draw, and then jumps in with questions or advice or prompts,

without letting there be space,

and silence, then the person with the slower speech pattern

is going to feel constricted. So part of listening is also

being willing to while you're listening, match, if your intention is to listen, to match, and support the rhythm of the other person. Okay, while they're speaking,

not to rush them, not to slow them down, just to be with them in their rhythm.

Okay, so last number five last I want to say is listening is is a major, major leadership skill. Most people think of leadership as speaking like making the speech setting the vision describing the strategy, saying this is what we're going to do at the end of the meeting. But

to lead someone

you know, we can talk about what is what leadership really means. And that's a whole other shebang.

But to be an influence on someone from a place of, you know, having a from the person welcoming and receiving, and then being inspired to act in a new way because of your influence, which is kind of in my opinion, what leadership really is,

as opposed to being forced to do something because they were demanded by an authority, which is what a lot of people think leadership is

to be really, truly influenced by a person

in the most in the deepest way.

I think prerequisite is listening because because a person has to, for me to be open.

Actually, let me put it in other way for you to be open to what I'm saying. If I'm here we are in the middle of a conversation. You're bringing some issue with me, to me,

for you to be open to what I'm so my suggestion. Any suggestion I might have.

If I just come out and say without hearing you first what I think you should do. Do you see why that's why

You're not going to be open to that, you see. Because if I just approach you because because what happens is,

if I am approaching you like your problem to fix, that I'm not seeing the full depth of your humanity, and you're not going to be open to my quote unquote, wisdom that I might be a wish that I might have. So, so literally, I could say the exact same thing

to you. But if I've listened to you for 10 minutes first, and really gotten sort of like moved into your world, and then gotten the texture and the flavor of what's going on with you, and considered it and then found a way to relate to it, and then kind of gone back and forth a little bit. And then you're like, hey, like, you know, if you have any suggestions, I'm open to it, then I suggest something

decent, you're, you're some, you're gonna be so much more open to receive that, then it's kind of like listening is what, you know, you start in a conversation, just like a closed flower bud. You know, there's two people kind of close flower buds.

Listening is is is the sunlight that allows the flower bud to open.

You know, there's a kind of, there's a kind of blossoming that happens in the space of a conversation, there's a whole journey that happens on a conversation. And listening is the is the sunlight, listening as the sunlight and without that it's just two buds, not actually revealing what's inside. It's just two people closed, closed to each other.

Okay, so that was my five, an only five and there's, I'm sure lots of more five reasons why

I think that listening, you should consider listening becomes one of your superpowers and really dig into it. I'll just real quick, the recap. One, the way you listen, change the way people talk, and what they're willing to share. So if you want to hear people's depths, if you want to be intimately in deeply in contact with the with the essence of a person, and you want for them to feel comfortable sharing their whole selves with you, then listening is crucial. Listening, if you want to be the kind of person in his presence, other people are more able to sense their own inner truth and blossom into their own inner guidance, then listening is crucial. If you want to be the person kind of person in whose presence other people are able to process and heal whatever has wounded them any pain they're in,

then listening is crucial. If you want to demonstrate that you care about another person, at all, that's important to you. If caring about people is important to you, then you need to learn how to listen.

And if you want to have an influence on people, if you want to lead people,

then you also need to learn how to listen. Listening is crucial. Alright, so those are my five.

So now we're going to talk about

how to listen, we're gonna talk a little bit about the mechanics of listening. Alright, so this is so funny, because when I talk about listening, a lot of times like I really do get I get the question that comes from such a sincere, innocent place like, Am I just am I literally just sitting there quiet listening to another person talk at me? And do I have to turn myself into a wall?

And the answer is no. But maybe at first, just to put the training wheels on as you're learning listening, you could try that. It's a good exercise. Can you like really? Could you do it?

Could you do it? Could you sit silently listening to another person speak

at you, for the space of 30 minutes or so? Could you do it? That's an interesting exercise. And you might notice what comes up in you, that makes that difficult. Maybe you're fidgety, maybe people are saying things that you really want to have, you have something that would be so valuable to say to that person and you got to say it, and you can't help yourself, you can't help yourself, but interrupt them and plop it into their world.

You just can't help yourself. If anything like that is coming up for you, then that's something gotta look at. It is preventing you from being a good listener. Do you see why? Because listening is the act of witnessing and inviting into speech, someone else. Holding space where people set up a holding space,

you're literally holding space for someone else to move around. And what you're not doing is filling that space with your own stuff. There's going to be a time and a place for that. But if you're listening,

not that's not the time. If your intention is to listen, the point is to hold space not to feel space.

So there's a lot of inner work to be done around how to become a good listener. Okay, we're going to talk about that a little bit more in the final part of the video. So, alright, let's talk about some of the levels as I see it, have a reflective listening. So here's like the kinds of things that you can say, when you're listening just as an example and this is by no means exhaustive.

But just the kinds of the kinds of things that I see when people are actually another way to put it is, when people go on a journey of learning how to be a good listener,

I see certain patterns. So a lot of times what happens is, so pattern number one, when people learn about listening, and then the last time it's like, they come to it with a real sense of curiosity and innocence and sincerity around I want to be listener. And they learn that one way to be an active listener is to be a critical reflective listener. So almost like saying, like, you hear me say something, and then you heat it back to me. And

this is an amazing first step. Okay, it's a fantastic first step. So being able, first of all, to just say what I said back to you, sorry, I'm being for you being able to say what I said back to me, in exactly my words, is very cool. That's a really useful skill.

That's step one, that's kind of level one.

Here's why it's level one, and not a deeper level. Because you see, it's just at the level of the words, it's just hear the words you said, and I'm gonna say them back to you. So in a conversation if you're doing that, and I've been in many conversations with people who who consider themselves kind of good listeners.

And this is their skill. This is their tactic, they repeat exactly what I said back. The problem is, is that it feels like a tactic feels it feels a little bit robotic. And,

and it's clear that they haven't.

There's another level where there, there are more levels to go, in terms of being able to reflect the meaning of what I'm saying, not just the not just the words of what I'm saying. Okay, so level two, summarizing, or paraphrasing what I'm saying, pretend I just talked to you for 15 minutes, and there were like three or four different threads.

So the next level, level two is this idea of summarizing or paraphrasing. So you could say like, Okay, I'm really hearing the following things, I'm hearing these four threads. That is a really, really great next step. Okay. It's not it's you see how it's deeper than just reflecting just the words.

And it represents an effort on your part to have processed and understood the, the essence and meaning of what I shared, not just the words, okay? That feels really good that it feels really good to be in a conversation with the person who's doing that. Okay. Because it's it.

It scratches that itch of like, I want to be heard, I want to be I want to do this, I want to be understood. I want to person shares, like, Okay, here's what I really heard you say, bump, a bump, a bomb.

That feels really good. Okay, my whole nervous system can relax.

I would like to make the point. The argument, though, that this is and this is level two, level three, level four listening, because

what's happening is that we're still in the mind, we're still at the level of cerebral processing, we haven't yet really gotten to the level of the heart or the body. Okay, so levels two, three and four are kind of like mind heart body.

Reflecting meaning back at the level of the mind is very useful from the perspective of being understood, quote, unquote, from a mental perspective, like, here's, here's what I said, here's the meaning of it. Okay, you got me check. Level three.

I'm going to call level three, empathizing. Okay. And it has to do with the heart.

So we're listening at the heart level now, not the mind level.

Empathy literally means so M means with pathos path, from pathos, meaning suffering, to suffer with another person. So if I'm sharing something with you, or pantheous, you can also just take me feeling, it means feeling with another person, that's also a compassion kind of means.

So empathy, feeling with another person, it's like, it's not just that, like, I received your words, and I put them into my your channel processing chamber, and then, you know, input output, here's the distilled meaning. That's level two, listening, level three, listening. Empathy is I'm really hearing you.

And I'm understanding not just the not just the meaning of what you're saying, but also how it feels and why it is important for you to be saying it.

At the heart of this level of listening is the sense of

like, why I'm really sensing into why is it important to you that you are sharing what you're saying?

And I'm moving in to your world with you. This is what we are and Greenspan was talking about this idea of empathically joining

with another person, it's like I can move into your world with you. And that feels so good. Feels so good for you, if I'm with you in your world, okay.

See, there's one more things to say about this.

Oh, yeah, here's a really interesting one, the origin of the word empathy.

This is fascinating.

It's actually a term from the early 1800s, I believe, from the theory of art appreciation. Okay, it's an art. It's an art history term.

And it's a theory of art appreciation, that maintains

that the viewers ability to appreciate a work of art has to do with whether they can see themselves in it,

or project the personality into it.

And I think this is such a cool definition of empathy, because one is another person if not a work of art.

So what is it like being with another person? And then seeing, seeing yourself in the work of art that has them?

And can you can you feel the heart in that you feel that it's like,

really being with another person at the heart level?

What's interesting about the content that is shared in this level of listening is that it's not necessarily paraphrases and summaries of what the other person is saying.

A lot of times, it doesn't even include that. This is why I found interesting is because when I first started learning, listening, I was I like really went through levels one, two, and I thought they were kind of the deal.

Then I noticed something really interesting, I have, I have a fantastic therapist that I've ever I've had a relationship with for almost 20 years. And my style of processing and therapy, particularly with him is I go in, and usually there's a bunch of my mind, if I, let's say, Don't talk to him for two, three months. And I'll go and, and speak or talk to him. And the first 30 minutes of the session is me just like kind of dumping, just like, here's what's on my mind. And he really understands this idea of

listening first to allow me to speak my way to clarity. And that's often what happens is like, I'll start and they'll be six or seven different threads of my life, that through the process of me speaking, I actually will find new ways of that they're that they get braided together and kind of connected into a thing.

And then what will happen at when I'm done

is he won't say, Okay, wow, that was a lot. Here's what I heard. He actually doesn't do that. He just responds. And sometimes, it's not even a comprehensive response to everything I said, it's just like, maybe to the last point I said, or to one thing that he noticed 15 minutes ago, or a reflection,

you know, some some metaphor that I used in the beginning that relates to the end and the way that I didn't see, and he'll just point that out. And listen to wrap it into my consciousness, but the quality of His presence and His listening, and even the way he says what he says this is what's so interesting is like, I can tell that he's following me. I can feel it. And he didn't have to prove it by saying here's what I heard.

Follow me. Isn't that interesting? Okay, so it's like we're moving in this level three level of listening depth,

the empathy realm.

We have moved

underneath words, for beyond words. Okay, so it's not meaning meaning is not just exchanged at the level of words it's exchanged at the level of almost like the air between us is tingling with a sense of understanding.

Okay, and I realize that sounds a little bit woowoo or abstract if you've never experienced it, but it's it's real

Okay, so that's empathy

All right, level four listening

well before listening the way that I'm describing it right now is at the level of the body


it's very important I think to talk about the body with respect to listening because

the body also Manuel how you do it.

It's he said a day in my life I started a little while ago, but you can watch the recording later if you'd like. But thanks for thanks for being here. I appreciate it.

Level of the body so the body is crucial for

listening because

we affect each other at a pre verbal level, just with our body language. Alright. So like, you know, and this is sort of obvious when you really think about it, pretend there you are reading a book at home or something and somebody you know walks in.

Even if there's someone you were expecting, okay, they walk in the energy of the room changes because of their presence. And you are not you're, you're having a physical body response.

Usually beneath the level of conscious awareness to the presence of this person. And different people carry different

energies, you might say, or qualities with them in their body, some people are kind of soft and harmonious. Some people are fierce and dense and solid, some people are flooding in, off off the wall, some people have a kind of entered anxious energy, but that is happening at the level of the body.


If you're listening to somebody,

your body is having an effect on their body.

Okay, so two human beings in a room, their bodies are affecting each other. And so here I am with you, if I'm listening to you.

And if I'm listening to you, and I'm really feeling what you're saying, and I able to paraphrase really well, what you're saying.

But my body is kind of like fidgeting, or if I'm kind of like, you know,

I don't know, if I'm loose or not feeling really like in my, if I'm not really feeling present my body,

then you're going to experience that, and it's going to compromise the, the empathic connection between the two of us, okay.

And it is going to weaken the container in which psychological safety is possible.

Because here's maybe a punchline that's really useful in this space is two eyes, do not make a we two eyes do not make away.

Two eyes can be in a room. But there hasn't been a we space established yet. Okay, the we space

is, and I forgive me if this is abstract, I know it sounds abstract, but it's real. When you really when you really, like play with this.

A we space is established at the level of the body. It's like

when two physical organisms realize with consciousness, that their bodies come together, and then they make that contact. And it's like, okay, you're we are together, there was a moment happening right now. I'm with you.

When that happens,

now, we're not we're sort of in level four listening, okay. And there's a couple other dimensions of level four sort of body level listening that I think are important to explain.

You can be present in the body in a way that's very available for a person, or you can be present in the body in a way that is sort of encroaching on their space. So

if I'm really present in my body, but I'm like way to leaning back as an inner posture, as well as a physical external posture, that are not really with a person, if I'm, if I'm with a person, and I'm sort of fierce and like, and there's a there's a fierceness in my eyes, and there's a kind of leaning forward energy like a let's go, let's like, we're gonna solve this together kind of energy. That's also not necessary. It's not ideal for Listen for creating the kind of inviting container for anything for for anything to share.

I'm not saying actually I there's that Heather uses, okay.

But there's a way the point I'm making is that there's a way that the energy that is in your body, the quality of energy that your body has right now has an effect on the other person. And being aware of that is the doorway into level four listening and the way in which you can, it's yeah, it's the doorway into it.

The body is also where we are able to dance with the energy that is being exchanged between the two of us kind of right here right now.

In my coaching sessions,

this is by the way, this doesn't just have to happen when two people in the same room this works. This works online in my Zoom calls.

Like, you know, there I am with another person

and body energy is being exchanged.

And there are some times where if the other person is is like, keyed into it, there's like a moment that can happen. Where it's like the talking doesn't really matter actually what we're saying anymore. It's like there is a body level connection that's going on, that is moving that my client, the person that person is processed for.

Like, sometimes it happens after one of the two of us is shared, like let's say the, let's say, the client just you know, said something that was like very powerful, like, they realized they had a realization.

And then boom,

here we are, in this moment together, and I'm and it just it just in my body, it's like I got hit with the profundity of what they said. And then their body registered that my body has registered the profundity and now we are existing in sort of proof in the in the awareness of profoundness.

And it's sinking into the body level. That's, that is the sort of like,

it's like we're both anchored in it now.

And sometimes many seconds or even minutes can pass, without many words exchanged in that space at the body level.



I would like to zoom back out for a second, we talked about four levels of listening.

Whether you know it or not sort of all levels are happening at once there, there is something going on at the low in the conversation at the level of words, there's something happened, sort of, there's something happening at the level of the meaning inside the words, there's something happening at the heart level underneath the words. And there's also something happening at the body level. Underneath the heart, you might say,


and your capacity to listen at any of these levels has to do with how present you are. And each of those at each of the levels, if you're aware of them, that that sort of, you know, they exist.

You might even say there's a fifth level, which is like, when two souls are in contact, not just two bodies in energetic space, but like two souls.

But I'm not gonna talk about that too much right.



I want to share a few final thoughts, and then we'll close. So what does it take to be a good listener? What does it take to access all four levels of listening,

and to be the kind of person in his presence other people really do have profound moments of personal transformation can sense them more deeply for their own inner clarity and inner truth, can hear that the whisper of their inner teacher can become more of themselves can be inspired to be more of themselves? How do you become that person?

Number one answer is inner work. You got to do your own inner work first. It is so crucial. This is one of the reasons I love this book, the brain being a brain wise therapist, other than everything, because it's fantastic book, it really talks about the level of psychological health of the therapist. And it's weird to me, this is something so bizarre to me. It's like that's not talked about very often.

And let me tell you, I know I'm sure that you relate to this. I know some therapists

that are not very psychologically healthy.

I know I wouldn't, I really just wouldn't send the client within 10 feet of them. And I and I've, of course, I'm not going to name any names, but like,

there's an that's not any disrespect that therapy profession, I have massive respect for most therapists and the profession itself. But for God's sake, it is very important that, you know, if you're a therapist or coach or a person who's in a helping profession, you've got to have done your own inner work. So that you can be with the pain of other people, or what or anything that arises and that anything that someone shares with the level of equanimity so that you're not personally triggered yourself. So that you don't, you know, whatever your pattern is, you have to be aware of it enough so that

it doesn't infect the space that you're holding in creating for the other person to be occupying as a person who's listening. And this by the way, this doesn't, I'm not just talking about if you're a therapist or a coach I'm talking about if you're a friend, or a mom, or us or brother, and you want to be the kind of person in whose presence your sister or your husband or your child or whatever

can reveal themselves.

Okay. And, like, I always think it's such a shame that,

like, therapists go to a lot of school, they want a lot of theories, and but the most important professional competence they learn is listening.

Period, that's what they want to do, okay? And we could talk theory about it, but like, they learn how to empathize, they learn how to listen, that's what a coach does, too. Okay. And it's, it's a real shame, that that listening training,

somehow has gotten relegated to the specialty of helping professions, it's like, for God's sakes, the world needs more of this, you need it, I need it, everybody needs to be listened to. And so

you know, the fact that we basically just kind of, it's almost like therapists are

therapists, and coaches maybe are kind of like, the way the the the Western world has siloed, like its own HR department, it's like, it's like HR is over there. Like when you want to talk about your feelings, you go over there.

You don't do that, in the context of friendship, you don't do that in the context of work, you don't do that in the context of the family dinner, you don't do that. That's for over their emotions, and pain and suffering, all this kind of stuff. That's for that room, when you get in the room with your therapist, that's where that belongs, doesn't belong out here. And, like for fucksakes, that's just wrong.

It's wrong, it's wrong. And so I believe that more listening wants to be imbued into our world, and you can be a person who is bringing it. So in a work, you have to be able to self regulate yourself so that when you're listening, your own stuff isn't being brought in, in a in a damaging way, or in a co opting way, to the space that you created for that person.

And actually, I have one just quote about this. This is from the book being a brainless therapist.

She's speaking to therapists who are reading the book, she says, Sometimes our own dissociated wounds make us want to avoid a certain patient's pain, we will notice this because we will begin to route that patient away from certain topics, or tracking, meaning how the therapist is fault tracking following listening to the other person will break down in the midst of deep work.

Because if you haven't processed your own trauma, then when someone else is sharing doesn't matter, if your therapist or friend or whatever, if someone else is sharing something that that awakens that pain in you, then you're gonna get whooped, co opted by that you're gonna go up into your or whatever you're going to, you're going to experience that. And it's going to be stronger than your impulse to continue listening to the person. And whatever your defense mechanism it's going to happen, you're going to tune out or you're going to get agitated, you're going to become anxious, you're gonna feel angry, whatever it happens. And so part of the job of good listener is to have

done enough inner work, and to be on a path consistently of inner work to be self regulating enough to be present with the other person while you're listening. Okay. And the last one I want to make is this idea of the psychology of internalization. So

in internal family systems, which is a branch of therapy that I think is fantastic, it's a school of therapy that believes we have parts and then we have self with a capital S. And it's kind of like that movie Inside Out where there's like, the parts of us joy, sadness, anger, disgust, forget fear. And they're all these parts of us that run around and they every once in awhile coops our internal control board, and, and we sell for the capitalists have to come in, and then let everyone know that things are cool. I'm here now.

But the the the central point in internal family systems is that you

can achieve a level of self mastery or self leadership over your parts. There's an internal relationship between quote unquote, you with a capital Y, and your parts. Okay, there's a and I love internal family systems. I think it's a fantastic methodology. It's like, it's blown me away. Personally, it's helped me a lot in my own life. And I've seen it be very powerful for many people.

And by the way, it's actually the choice of therapy for the current renaissance in psychedelic therapy. So like maps that the mass organization uses it when they do MDMA assisted therapy and things like that.

I internal family systems or ifs, most of their therapists are trained in that particular modality.

There is another framework

that counters internal family systems on one very important point, and it's the idea of the inner community. And I forget what the name of the framework is, but maybe inner community work or something like that.

But they say so if that's his goal is self mastery, self leadership.

The inner community, however, is the idea that it's not that you have parts, it's that your parts are always in relation to someone that you've been in contact with in your in your life. So your grandfather, your mom, your therapist, your friend, and the inner community is always developing. So when you develop close relationships with people, you internalize them, and then parts of you are in relationship with your internalization of them. So for instance, when you're alone, you could be in a cabin in the woods, like I was for three months and while ago, are just there you are at your house.

And people rise in your consciousness, because we are radically relational beings, human beings. And when someone arises in your consciousness, then your inner system has a response to that. And there are parts that relate to that the internalization of that person in some particular way.

You know, maybe one friend inspires you to do something, maybe one friend causes a part of you to just remember how angry he was about that thing they did. Or one part of you compares yourself to this person feels like

I don't know worth listening, you get the point, your parts are related to your internalization of other people.

So from the perspective of the inner community,

now remember, this is this is I'm talking about Bonnie Badenoch, spoke Brene. Brown was therapist, and she's writing this book for therapists. And she says, The goal in the framework of inter community is for the therapist to become an important part of the patients in our world.

So that when, like, if I think of my therapist, then I'm flooded with feelings of self confidence, and I can do it and the kinds of things that you would want from a relationship with therapists, like, I can't speak up for myself in this relationship with my mom or I.

I can't say no to my boss about this one thing. So when I want to invoke my my inner therapist or the internalization of my therapist, then all this is what arises.

I really liked this framework, because it's grounded in the relational reality of human existence, we are so profoundly relational and the human psyche is relational. And it is not, I don't think just that we have a relationship with our parts, that it's not just sort of insight inside, it's also outside inside that's there. And they're both true. But I think the internal family systems has a blind spot to this, or at the very least, it

it doesn't fully acknowledge the nature of that reality. And so I think the inner community framework has a lot to offer.

You right now, are having you watching this video, people in your life that are important to you, and for whom you are important to them, which is actually the more important point for this point.

They have an internal realization of you inside their own head.

My question to you is, is that internalization, and empowering one and enlivening one healing one, one that makes them feel like they can become more of themselves? Or is it? Or is it not? Or is it a diminishing one, a demeaning one? A?

A one that makes people makes them enraged?

How is it how is how are you living in the world of other people, and you can't actually know that. But my challenge to you is that you become the kind of person

who has a positive healing, inspiring effect on other people, because God knows we need it in this world.


that's, that's what listening can do. That's what listening can do. That's, that is making listening your superpower is what enables you to be that you can be a safe place for other people's souls for their hearts. So that when they think of you, and when they call you up, you're the person that is like an oasis for them.

And you can be that, and I believe, I think Ken, I know you can.

And maybe you're just starting a path of inner work, and maybe it may take a little while before you really really make the progress. You can get down all the way all the way to the four levels. But even if you're just starting at level one, then it's it's such important work and I'm really encouraging you I really, I It's so important. And if you decide to take it on then I really, really, really want to be your cheerleader in this and I think it's a beautiful thing. Very, very important for our world.


I think that is it.

So, if you liked this video, if you found it useful if you found it valuable, if there were parts of it that you liked other parts that you didn't like, I would love to know what you think. So let me know down in the comments below there, that'd be fantastic. I really appreciate that. I do, check all the comments, and I will respond.

Also, please subscribe to my channel. And I'll be doing more videos like this. So I'm gonna go live weekly. And we'll be talking about various topics on personal growth. Probably going to start doing an Enneagram thing soon. Thanks a lot, Manuel. Appreciate it. Thanks for being here.


yeah, let's see any final words on listening.

I just hope that it's clear that we're not going to get very far as a species without listening. And it's one of the most important things I think that will help heal the world and help move our relationship with not just each other, but the planet itself and all of life to a healthier place. And it really is that anchor, it really is that anchor. And so please consider and I know that you can do it and sending lots of love and loss of encouragement and hope you

are well. See you next time

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