Doing business in silence

I don’t know a better way to lead than to listen. What is deep listening? It’s a way of hearing where our whole body and being are, in the moment, without controlling it, judging it, or changing anything. It’s letting whatever will happen, happen in the conversation without jumping in. There is no need to clarify anything until you’ve sat in silence and your client is empty of words. Most of the time your client will clarify what’s missing before you step in.

Amir Karkouti
Unconventional Wisdom: Stories
Beyond the Mind to Awaken the Heart

Poetry, of course, is jam-packed full of the kind of wisdom that is accessed by deep listening, past, present and future. I remember being enthralled by the thought that Louis MacNeice must have been one of life’s really great deep listeners. How else could he have begun his Mutations with

If there has been no spiritual change of kind
Within our species since Cro-Magnon Man
And none is looked for now while the millennia cool,
Yet each of us has known mutations in the mind
When the world jumped and what had been a plan
Dissolved and rivers gushed from what had seemed a pool …

It’s a deep-listening ear that makes connections between Cro-Magnon man and our contemporary surprises! MacNeice must have made time in his life for pause as well as for poise.

Whilst I am often prepared to give poetry time to ‘clarify what’s missing’ in my comprehension and (a measure of) understanding of it, I warmly recognise the truth, too, in Amir Karkouti’s unconventional wisdom that, in human encounters, ‘there is no need to clarify anything until you’ve sat in silence and your client [or acquaintance, colleague, dream, friend, love, nature, novel, partner, poem, prayer, wilderness experience etc] is empty of words. Most of the time your client will clarify what’s missing before you step in.’

What a marvellous and extraordinary truth it is that poetry’s careful placing of words can so often point us in the useful direction of contemplative stillness and receptive, reflective, silence.

4 thoughts on “Doing business in silence

  1. Silence – the perfect medium for communication, really. Suspending thoughts of anticipated responses, judgments, two cents that is not necessarily even wanted. Just sitting and breathing in the air with another and giving them the space to just be – there is something sacred about that to me…

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    1. Me too Mimi. For as long as I can remember times of silence have been as important to me (sometimes more) as food. Do you remember that old saying – don’t know where it came from – ‘Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.’ ? Yes: sacred. And profoundly shared, and often when we don’t know it. Thanks for sitting awhile – for being there xx

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  2. Yes, thank you, we are having a wonderful holiday. I love the quotations and your own thoughts about listening. The thought that good leadership springs from good listening is profound and rare, I think. Good listening is a precious gift; a gift bestowed on the listener and a gift for the person being listened to. If more loving and attentive listening were done, what a different world we would live in; and I mean listening in its broadest sense too, as you suggest in brackets towards the end of today’s entry. A x

    Liked by 1 person

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