Paying Attention to Others

This lesson from Sharon Salzberg is about paying attention to others. She tells that when people give us a gift or annoy us we do pay attention.

In normal circumstances, we listen to each other almost halfheartedly. They fail to make an impression on us and we fail to listen properly.

One advantage of participating in a sangha (meditation group) is to develop the skills of deep listening and loving speech.

Deep listening is the practice of listening with compassion and attention, without evaluating or judging the person who is speaking.

Loving speech is speaking honestly and sincerely from the bottom of our hearts.

These two practices develop our listening skills to the point of really paying attention to others.

One Essential Step | February 28, 2015

 One essential step in learning to more genuinely see each other is to bother to look. If someone yells at us, or annoys us, or dazzles us with a gift, we do pay attention to them. Our challenge then is to see them as they are, not as we project or assume them to be. But if they don’t make much of an impression on us, we have a different challenge; it is all too easy to look right through them.

– Sharon Salzberg., “A More Complete Attention”

Sharon Salzberg

The fourth mindfulness training of the Five Mindfulness Trainings states,

Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

If we study, practice and observe this mindfulness training on deep listening and loving speech, we can being paying attention to others in ways that can support their lives and reduce their suffering.

Books by Sharon salzberg

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program

Sharon Salzberg

Thousands of years prove it, and Western science backs it: Meditation sharpens focus. Meditation lowers blood pressure, relieves chronic pain, reduces stress. Meditation helps us experience greater calm. Meditation connects us to our inner-most feelings and challenges our habits of self-judgmen… [Read More…]

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