The Art of Listening ~ Daniel Tipton

Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*


[as it appeared in the February 2012 Newsletter]


It has never been a talent of mine to be a good listener. My normal tendency has been to listen to somebody until a thought is triggered, and then impatiently wait until I get the opportunity to express my “important” idea. I’ve always been told that it is a virtue to be a good listener, but I’ve never really thought about what it feels like when somebody is listening to me attentively.

I am currently studying counseling and have been realizing that being a good listener is not only a nice characteristic, but also a healing one. Also, that there are some Course principals in counseling: non-judgment, quietness, not actually healing but letting healing be, and giving. Most notably, being a good listener is an act of giving. When we give somebody our attention, and try to make what they are talking about as important to us as it is to them, miracles are bound to happen.

Imagine that you are talking to somebody and they are giving you all of their attention and seem to understand exactly how you are feeling. Imagine how honored you feel, how loved you feel, how much you love them for giving you their attention, which is totally at their own discretion. It is not always easy to be a good listener, but it might do wonders for our relationships. Simply taking our attention off of our own thoughts for a minute to really hear somebody might be one of the most rewarding acts we can perform with the least amount of effort.

When we listen to somebody, we might not only help them to find their own answers within, but we might learn something about ourselves. Attentive listening is partaking in a holy relationship. In a holy relationship both parties are elevated to a place where they could not have gotten to on their own. The Course says:

11 Be still and listen to the truth today. For each five minutes spent in listening, a thousand minds are opened to the truth. And they will hear the holy Word you hear. And when the hour is past, you will again release a thousand more who pause to ask that truth be given them along with you.
12 Today the holy Word of God is kept through your receiving it to give away, so you can teach the world what giving means by listening and learning it of Him. Do not forget today to reinforce your choice to hear and to receive the Word by this reminder, given to yourself as often as is possible today:
13 Let me be still and listen to the truth.
I am the messenger of God today.
My voice is His, to give what I receive. (OrEd.W.106)

This tells us to listen to the truth. I think that if we listen to the truth in our brothers, we help to release them. By releasing them through listening, imagine how many other lives they will touch until, realistically, a thousand more people have received the gift.
In counseling (or listening) we are advised not to give advice to clients. There are several reasons for this but the main one is that the answer is within the client. We each must find our own answers, but a good listener is an expediter to this process, and therein lies the value. The Course also says:

8 The therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness, but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only therapist. He makes healing perfectly clear in any situation in which he is the Guide. The human therapist can only let Him fulfill His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. Remember that you are choosing a guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will. Trust Him, for help is His function, and He is of God. (OrEd.T.9.8)

I have this printed and hanging above my desk as a reminder of the kind of listener I want to be.

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the CommDaniel Tiptonunity Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago.
More Conference Information here