To listen, we must intend to listen and then open, relax, and receive the words, impressions, feeling states, and energetic cues from our friends as they speak. We steady our attention, remain fully present, and allow our heart-mind to exchange without interference from our internal commentary of evaluations and judgments. We mute our “react and respond” button. We simply hear what they have to say, releasing the grip of the ego on our perceptions.
Sometimes we have a confused notion that listening means agreement. It doesn’t. Whether we agree or don’t is a separate matter; we need to hear what someone has to say without confusing it with whether we see things the same way. But we can extend empathy or a positive feeling of goodwill, nodding our head, showing them we are taking them in. Even if we can’t fully understand, we can hear. This goes a long way in the art of being human.
From Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Musho Hamilton, page 91