From: Rich Raffals <>
Date: Wed Nov 07, 2001  11:41:15 AM US/Pacific
Subject: Listening...

Hi again,

     I was asked by a few people at the last meeting to send some info to the group on listening.  I'll include some info on both how to listen better and on how to get listened to (for clarity of thought, healing, increased intelligence, to work out problems, make decisions, etc)....

     Listening is a discipline/muscle which will get stronger as you practice.  Here's a fun exercise from one of my coaching classes: Listen to 3 people (anywhere in your daily life) for 3 minutes straight (without interrupting) this week.  Increase to 4 people for 4 minutes next week, etc.  (It's ok to tell them you're doing this, if you like.  But, if you interrupt them before the x minutes is up, start over.  :)

     I'll share some notes for you to play with from one of the coaching models I use.  You can use this model to tune in to and have some fun with how you are listening at our gatherings, with your significant other, children, etc.  Try to consciously maintain Level 2 or 3 listening.  Contact me by phone if you'd like more ideas.  Here's some notes to get you going:

* Level 1 Listening = Internal
  (As someone else speaks, you hear your own inner voice, opinions, stories,
  judgments, feelings, needs, itches, and what you want to say next.
  Normal/effortless focus on yourself.)

* Level 2 Listening = Focused
  (As someone else speaks, like a mother with a sick baby or a lover sitting in
  the park, all your attention is on the other person, the nuances of the words
  they choose, and their true needs [verbalized or not], while oblivious to
  what's going on inside/around you.  Hard/directed focus on speaker.)

* Level 3 Listening = Global
  (As someone else speaks, you are aware of the energy between you and others &
  how it's changing; you detect sadness, lightness, shifts in attitude.  You are
  aware of environment and what's going on around you, conscious of underlying
  mood, tone, and impact of the conversation--like a comedian or performer on
  stage with a highly developed antennae tuned to what's there but not being
  said...and how the energy of the moment is building or dissipating.  Soft/
  wide-angle vision focus on everything.)

 **  First: See how aware you can be of what level your're listening at in each moment. **
 **  Create a mnemonic for yourself (a periodic reminder is ideal).  **
 **  Try to keep yourself at Levels 2 and 3 as long as you can!      **
 **  Maintain an attitude of being completely pleased and delighted with the speaker, regardless of content.  **
 **  Regard the person as their highest possible self. **
 **  Hint for you meditators: Use your breath to stay focused. :)    **
 ** Another Hint: When your attention drifts, try tuning in to the tone of the person's voice, what their body's saying, and the "larger" message they're conveying (often without knowing it), the message that lies underneath the words you're hearing: Who is he striving to become?  What is her soul trying to express or learn at this point in her life?  What would it feel like to be this person in this moment or experience?  Etc.  Then, return to being pleased and holding them highly. **

     I recently completed a 16 week training in "Re-evaluation Counseling".  This has been one of the most valuable trainings and communities I've encountered...not just for my coaching practice, but also for me personally and for the work the RC community is doing in the world...can't recommend it highly enough.  In fact, I've already started a second class!  See the attached newsletter for free intro evenings and upcoming classes (extremely cheap!), or visit to find a class near you.
     If you're not interested in taking a course, but you'd like to experience what being listened to in this way can do for you, I'd still suggest going to one of the intro evenings (some portion of the evening will undoubtedly be dedicated to someone listening just to you, one-on-one, on whatever you want to talk about).  If that doesn't work for you for some reason, you might try contacting one of the regional contact people (see attached newsletter) or one of the course instructors and volunteering yourself as a "client."  This way, the budding counselors in the classes would get practice, and you would get the attention/listening/healing/improved intelligence.  To read more about what I mean by that, you can visit their website and learn about their unique and (fairly) simple theory of how humans actually operate: (click on "Basic RC Theory")
     If none of the instructors are looking for clients, the instructors or contact people might be able to put you in touch with experienced counselors who are looking to do this work with anyone who's interested, to practice, etc.  To my knowledge, this is always free.

     If you're looking to be listened to in a more practical context such that you are more empowered to work through challenging situations, create new solutions, understand yourself more deeply, clarify nebulous issues and make decisions, that sort of thing, I'd highly recommend hiring a personal coach.  (Yes, of course, I have a coach!)  People really have transformational experiences.  If you're interested in what these experiences are like, I've put a few brief accounts here:

Have fun with this stuff!  :)

Thought for Today: The most important product of your life is you.