“I put my foot in my mouth.” “I should have bit my tongue.” “Why didn’t I keep my mouth shut? ”
Any one of these self-statements points to one of the most simple and powerful listening tools being violated….the GOLDEN PAUSE. It is such a simple thing to do, yet it requires tremendous amounts of self-discipline to make it a practice. A few weeks ago, I attended an inspiring session on ‘The Art of Tilling the Soil Before we Listen” at the International Listening Association convention in Montreal. Facilitated by authors Kay Lindahl and John Backman, the session focused on what it takes to prepare the mind for listening to all kinds of messages. This is what pushing the Golden Pause button is all about.
There are 2 strategies that can be helpful in listening with intention and focusing on who you would like to positively impact with the quality of your listening
- CONTEMPLATION: Create a space for self observation in which you are wide open to listen. This is all about being ready to listen at any moment. Meditation, yoga and centering prayer are methods to develop contemplation
- REFLECTION: Listen to your inner voice. Know when it is the right time to speak and the right to listen. An old Sufi tradition advises us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through 4 gates…At the fist gate, ask yourself “Are these words true?” If so, you let them pass on; if not, back they go. At the second gate you ask; “Are they necessary?” At the third gate you ask; “Are they beneficial?” and at the fourth gate, you ask, “Are they kind?” Only when the answer to each of these four questions is YES, should you speak.
When you listen, you either add value or you cause a cost. Push the Golden Pause button frequently and you will reap an abundant crop of value.