Deep Listening

Modified on: February 7, 2019

As we enter Black History Month, and into discussion of some of the most difficult aspects of our nation’s history, a word from the great teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, colleague and collaborator with Martin Luther King, Jr. to advance peace in the United States, in Vietnam, and around the world:

“Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart. Even if he says things that are full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you are still capable of continuing to listen with compassion. Because you know that listening like that, you give that person a chance to suffer less. If you want to help him to correct his perception, you wait for another time. For now, you don’t interrupt. You don’t argue. If you do, he loses his chance. You just listen with compassion and help him to suffer less. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing.”


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