Notice how attached you are to others speaking to you in a particular way.
That you’ll only really listen to what’s been said, or count it as true, when it fits just the form you wish.
Maybe for you it has to be concise and to the point for you to pay attention.
Or maybe complete, anticipating every angle.
Perhaps it has to be kind, without a shred of judgement or criticism before you’ll let it in.
Or maybe direct, untainted by emotion or sentiment.
Perhaps it has to be clever, fresh, intellectually stimulating or else you’ll judge it as boring.
Or maybe you insist that it’s practical, worthless unless you can immediately tell what to do with what you’re hearing.
Perhaps you’ll only listen to what’s businesslike, and tune out of anything that’s personal.
Or maybe you’ll listen only when what’s being said is deep and poetic.
In every case you’re letting your preferences, and quite possibly your prejudices, deafen you to a world of possibility.
You’re purposefully keeping your world small, familiar.
Maybe it’s easier this way. At least you won’t have to really consider anything that’s too troubling.
The task for all of us? Letting go of all of this, so that we can hear more and more of what’s being said.
And so we can tune in – and respond – to ever wider categories of concern.