It is a wonderful thing to be able to listen. And, on the other end, these days, almost a thrill to be heard. Listening is a skill that, as I'm finding, is very rare. There is a calmness about someone who hears you; someone who quiets to let you speak. And it doesn't always involve just ears. There can be much more to it than that.
Last spring, we went to see the "Vienna Philharmonic." One of the pieces they played was Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde; Prelude & Liebestond." It is a stunningly beautiful piece of music, and as it started, I decided to experiment. I stopped listening with my ears, and started listening with, well, my whole body...my heart in particular. I was floored. It was a conscious shift, on my part, but I got so much more out of the music. It was like a completely different physiology, and it illustrated, for me, how much more complex we are. The event took on such a powerful tone...and it dawned on me that there must be people who listen like this every day, without having to make the conscious effort that I did. They're different; way more tuned in... no kidding.
It's a frustrating thing to try and have a conversation with someone who doesn't listen. You can almost see them planning their next sentence, impatient for you to finish whatever it is that you're saying. And after a short time, you give up. At least I do.
But when you finally meet someone who has decided to give you their time and their honest consideration; someone who listens fully, it's a wonderful thing. There is a calmness about them. Sometimes there are even pauses during the conversation...but no awkwardness. And each and every time, I can bet that they're listening with their heart, instead of just their ears. Isn't that what our heart was meant for in the first place; the consideration of others? Everyone's got ears, and some do use them, but to stumble upon someone who really hears you with their heart?
...Well, people write symphonies about things like that. I know. I've heard it.