is so close to being loved
that for the average person,
they are almost indistinguishable.”
“Before one can love,” Eric Fromm noted, “one must be able to listen” (a subject he treats at length in The Art of Listening, a posthumously published book adapted from a 1974 seminar in Switzerland).
Here are Fromm’s six basic rules for the art of listening:
- The basic rule for practicing this art is the complete concentration of the listener.
- Nothing of importance must be on the listener’s mind, being optimally free from anxiety as well as from greed.
- The listener must possess a freely-working imagination which is sufficiently concrete to be expressed in words.
- The listener must be endowed with a capacity for empathy with another person and strong enough to feel the experience of the other as if it were his/her own.
The condition for such empathy is a crucial facet of the capacity for love. To understand another means to love the person listened to.
Understanding and loving are inseparable. If they are separate, it is a cerebral process and the door to essential understanding remains closed.
Next week I will introduce you to a deep listening process called “Practicum of a Soul Friend“.