So, a while back I blogged about escalation, and how one of the causes of escalation is often that each party in a disagreement feels that the other is not listening or does not understand.  Recent events in my life have helped me understand more about the power of listening.

There are certain hymns that have always been very dear to me, and have struck a chord with my heart.  I will quote them here.
I would be my brother's keeper,
I would learn the healer's art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart
(from "Lord I Would Follow Thee")
Fill my mind with understanding;
Tune my voice to echo thine.
Touch my hand with gentle friendship;
Warm my heart with love divine.
(from "Help Me Teach with Inspiration")
 I have a healer's heart.  I love seeing people make up, become friends, overcome obstacles, heal from wounds.  I love taking care of people while they are convalescing.  I hate being around when people fight.  I hate fighting with people.  I hate discontentment and discord.  I like harmony.  I like love and mutual affection.

My eyes are continually opened more and more to the extreme amount of suffering in the world.  There are so many pressures, so many stresses and anxieties.  There is so much hurt and pain and suffering.  My heart sinks when I learn of it.  It grieves over the damage that is done all around me.  But this emotion does not cause me to despair.  It causes me to redouble my efforts in healing.  It makes me want to amass an army of healers to go out into the world and remedy the hurt.

To listen is a powerful thing.  It is an ennobling thing.  To hear the thoughts of another person's mind is amazing.  To feel the emotions of a fellow human being is the closest thing to transcendental that exists.  To listen and to feel.  Not just to hear the words, but to understand them.  To know the meaning that is being conveyed by them.  It is a beautiful thing.  To see into another person's heart, and to empathize.  To say "I understand what you're feeling.  I know how that is."

I have been surprised at how much I am personally enriched and enlivened by listening to other people.  By experiencing life through their eyes.  I can be a more complete, more understanding person because of it.  I can love more deeply, I can have more compassion.  I can have more understanding and appreciation of other people.  I recommend listening.  Listen to someone.