Part 1 of 4 in the series LISNing

“When people share problems with me, I approach things differently. My time in Circles has trained me to slow down, ask a few questions, and listen harder. It’s changed my relationships.”

– René Lönngren

LISN encourages quality listening as a prime virtue, and supports participation in small LISN-circles as a way towards peace and authenticity.

In a post for Harvard Business Review, Ralph G. Nichols and Leonard A. Stevens point to the belief that our collectively poor listening ability is partly due to a rigid education system, where the focus has always been on reading. While we are formally taught to read through learning grammar, spelling and repeated practice, listening isn’t really addressed as a skill in its own right:

“Behind this widespread inability to listen lies, in our opinion, a major oversight in our system of classroom instruction. We have focused attention on reading, considering it the primary medium by which we learn, and we have practically forgotten the art of listening.”

Research has shown that during a meeting, the loudest and most confident person will often be favoured, regardless of the value of their input. LISN-circles offer members equal airtime so that everyone is listened to. One of the functionalities of a LISN-Circles meeting is  each member has a time to say what’s on their mind. Each session acts as an exercise in listening as everyone is given their turn.

Being heard is the Essence of Belonging.

As Emma Castleberry said:

“With every passing day, technology makes it easier for humans to isolate themselves. Historically, we have relied on each other, on our community, to keep us alive—physically, emotionally, socially. The isolated cave man just wasn’t going to survive.

Now, we don’t even have to leave the house. We can hold a full-time job without ever setting foot in an office. We can have our food delivered to us with the press of a button. We don’t even have to get off the couch to pursue a mate.

I feel the disconnect. Ask yourself: When was the last time you had a conversation that really, truly mattered to you? One that made you think and evolve and progress? For me, it was a long time ago. Too long.”

“When you take people deep, everybody is riveted because it is so rare.”
Tony Robbins,  I’m Not Your Guru

You don’t need to speak to be heard.

This sounds counter-cultural, but think about an experience in your life when someone modeled empathy, say by holding your hand, rather than just talking.
An example:
Father Paul Fitzgerald was a Trappist monk in New Hampshire. In all his years in his community he only gave one spoken talk about his own views. He had no need to speak. Father Paul had relinquished the need to control and replaced it with the desire to accept and serve.
He was a mystic that was Taoist in his calm acceptance that the universe is in good hands.
Spiritual intent is to say “yes”to our own ultimate growth as well as that of others. There is no greater good we can give to others than to be there for them in their questions, their darkness, and their triumphs.
By joining a LISN-circle you can respectfully hear your own voice and the voice of others.

See also: About LISN circles , LISN groups

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