For me love is  a verb, not a noun. I only love you when I am listening to you, in a warm, caring, allowing, connected, oneness kind of way.

The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says love is listening. What does this mean?

What is Listening? For me it’s being comfortable enough with myself that I can put ‘me’ to one side & feel what it is to be in another person’s world, to their satisfaction. The only way I can begin to know if I am doing this is if I repeat back what the other person has said, and they say ‘Yes, that’s it!’ After all, if I don’t repeat back to them what they have just said, then I cannot be sure I have got what they said right.

love is listeningWhy not try it. Start by trying to repeat back parrot fashion every word they have said. See how long you can do this for.

Then try and repeat back exactly what they said, changing some words, but keeping the meaning of what you think they said. Changing the important words to try to capture the person’s intention behind the words will help you even more to know if you have really listened.

If you genuinely try and do this for a while, you will probably discover that more often than not you are not listening as well as you think. When you do begin to be able to do it, i will have a profound effect on how you relate to people.

So how is it that love is listening? I guess we would all agree that love is caring, allowing, connecting, oneness with another person. As they are, not as we think they are.

So just ask yourself, if I cannot repeat back what the other person is trying to tell me, how well do I really know them? And how much of me do I superimpose on them, without even taking time to try and listen to them? How can we be allowing someone who we are not even listening to? How can we be connecting with someone when we are ignoring what they are trying to reach out to us with?

What listening does In the last 35 years, i have found that when I really listen, the other person can feel it. This encourages them to tell me more. Then if I keep listening, they begin to trust me enough to tell me their deeper thoughts & feelings. This brings us closer,  dissolves loneliness & the barriers that separate us. Barriers that in the distant past they were taught to build.

Virtually no-one listens well The vast majority of people I have spent time listening to have told me that no-one else in their life has ever listened to them like this. No-one. What a lonely, loveless place to be! I now think that not properly listening to ourselves and others has led to a society full of loneliness and disconnect. The solution is so simple.

Ask yourself how many seconds/minutes a day do you do/try to do loving listening..

Of course, we can only really love others as much as we love ourselves. We can only really listen to others as much as we listen to ourselves. When I realised this, my focus in life became to learn to listen to the ‘me’. Then I began to walk my path of learning to love.


real mindfulness