The Power of Listening

“Being heard
is so close to being loved
that for the average person,
they are almost indistinguishable.”

David Augsburger


“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:

  1. The basic rule for practicing this art is the complete concentration of the listener.
  2. Nothing of importance must be on the listener’s mind, being optimally free from anxiety as well as from greed.
  3. The listener must possess a freely-working imagination which is sufficiently concrete to be expressed in words.
  4. 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.
  5. The condition for such empathy is a crucial facet of the capacity for love. To understand another means to love the person listened to.
  6. 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“.

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About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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6 Responses to The Power of Listening

  1. Yes yes yes yes, this is what I teach, this is what I do in my coaching and it’s amazing that the actual art of listening completely heals all in itself….I was telling an important person this today…if I am not heard im moving on…PERIOD……end of story! This is where truth and LOVE emmerge and where freedom is set for BEING You and healing occurs! Yes yes yes your brilliant and I love this…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phil Webb says:

    Great points on listening! This means that I must deal with the noise in my own life so that I can listen,empathize and love. Dignity is affirmed in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am ever a student in the art of listening. I suspect it will take the rest of my life to undo the bad habits of wanting to be understood, to win an argument, or to get to the point. The beauty of walking the long arc of our short lives with Jesus is experiencing His loyal patience with us over all these years.

      Like

  3. Pingback: Practicum of a Soul Friend | Curriculum of the Spiritual Life

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