Part of my job is to listen. Actually the biggest part of my job is to listen. I have to walk into a small room with a total stranger and, in two minutes, figure out what they want from their massage. I have to determine what they need, what they want, what they will love, what they will hate. Two minutes to figure out what I can give them that they can't get anywhere else. Because, after all, they are at Kripalu.
If you think that is easy, you are very, very, extremely, completely and totally wrong.
But I’ve been doing it for over seven years now, with a different person almost every time I’ve walked into that small room which makes for thousands of people, so I am pretty good at it.
The key is listening.
Listening isn’t just about hearing the words they are saying. It’s hearing what they aren’t saying. It’s their body language - what are they doing with their hands, their posture, their eyes. It's the silences. And it is the words, the exact words they choose over all the other possible words.
What do they want me to know, that they can’t bring themselves to say?
Most significantly, listening is not planning what I will say back to them. I can’t suss out any information from the silent cues - if I’m planning my end of the conversation. I can barely hear their words if I’m planning my end of the conversation.
What I have to say doesn’t matter a damn, if I’m not hearing them in all the ways they are speaking to me.
When I listen, with my whole self, really listen to all that they are giving me, I know exactly what they want.
They think I am amazing, so intuitive, to see right into their deepest need.
Nah, I just listened, really hard.
People don’t listen much in our society. We all function under the belief that what we have to say is of the utmost importance.
We are wrong. Not always, but most of the time.
Sometimes the most important thing is to sit and listen with everything you have. Try it, it just might be the most important thing you do today.