Posted by The Taste Bud Consultant | 3 comments

Mindful Listening – A Means to Improving the Quality of Your Life Through Your Relationships

“Good effective communication is the single most important factor in any relationship.”  I recall reading that sentence long ago, and since that time I have worked on improving my communication skills.  I have found the practice of listening to others mindfully (when they are speaking) is crucial to good effective communication.  Note that I used the word practice!  It has been a difficult task for me to improve my communication techniques due to the many years I spent (historically) engaging in conversation without the appropriate skills.

Some of the most common errors we make while listening include the following: Interrupting a person mid sentence, projecting what we think the other person is going to say, and mentally preparing our response while the person is speaking.

When a person begins to speak allow them the courtesy of completing the thoughts they are trying to convey to you.  By interrupting a person before they have had the chance to fully express themselves only generates tension because they are forced to stop, and by doing so usually loose focus on their train of thought. One of the most common responses I receive when I am teaching this aspect of listening is: “If i do not say what I am thinking at that moment, and interrupt them, I will not remember what I wanted to say to them.”  Nothing is further from the truth.  The fact of the matter is this, If you are listening attentively, and appropriately, you will remember everything that they have said to you.

When we listen we generally do so with a preconception or from a particular point of view, therefore we must strive to become fully aware of any biases that we maintain. 

Do not assume that you know what another person is going to say to you. I was involved in a conversation a couple years ago and was interrupted mid sentence. The individual projected what he thought I was going to say and ran with the conversation.  The other people in the room also engaged in the conversation but did so according to what the other person stated.  I never finished what I wanted to say, and as a result the people walked away from the conversation with an entirely different perspective or idea of what I was trying to get across. 

You cannot listen to someone wholeheartedly or mindfully if you are mentally preparing your response while they are speaking.  When we are communicating emotions will naturally arise, and in some cases can become intense causing us to get excited or we may experience a certain level of anxiety.  Remember that you will have the opportunity to respond at the appropriate time.  It is literally impossible to listen to someone while mentally preparing your response.  By doing so you will loose a portion of what that person is saying to you, and at that point communication has failed.  If the conversation is making you upset and your emotions are riding high you can always take a break.  Ask the person if you can return to the conversation at another time to allow you sufficient time to collect yourself and reduce some of the tension you are experiencing.  To attempt to continue in conversation while you are angry is futile.

" Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts
 within another person."  - Rachel Naomi Remen

Mindfulness is defined as follows: Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, with a conscious direction of our awareness.  In other words; when someone is speaking we are focused upon the person, and the words they are speaking rather than considering what we may have for dinner or what’s in our inbox etc.
When we are listening to someone mindfully we generate a sense of safety, trust, and respect.  Even in the event that you differ in your opinions the person who knows that they have been heard will maintain respect for you, and will likely not be afraid to approach you for conversation at another time.

" Through mindfulness we generate empathy allowing us to experience (more fully) what the other person is trying to express.  With empathy we naturally generate compassion,which is defined as: The virtue of empathy for the suffering of others. It is regarded as a fundamental part of human love, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection, and humanism.  With compassion we generate loving kindness, and a willingness to promote other’s well being.  When we help to heal the miseries and afflictions of others we promote self realization and wisdom, which naturally enhances our state of mindfulness.  It is within this circle of energy that we find love, happiness, and contentment."

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Dalai Lama

Through mindful listening we promote the well being of others, and by doing so find that the process is reciprocal in nature.  We have the opportunity to vastly improve the quality of our lives, and the relationships that we maintain.  After all, just think of how many opportunities we have in a day to listen! 

                     Copyright Craig Brando 2012


  1. I see you have continued your quest for more appropriate speech and definding yourself intellectually.
    It was eas. to hear your Middle Eastern philosophy.I am quite happy to see you engage in such a positive business . I am sure that your clients appreciate your tremendous amount of patience understanding and abilities to bring yourself to an even keel when listening and addressing their needs.I am happy for you. y friend please continue to educate and elevate as we watch the world around us crumble from ignorance self pity and wanting much but giving little I wish you the best Godspeed my friend.

  2. Happy Holidays Gene !!I am grateful for your kind words & well wishes !!