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 Learning to listen 
Listening is a skill taking practice, trying to listen without thought… can be difficult, most people are just waiting to respond, only hearing a piece of what the other is saying.
 The other person hasn’t even finished a sentence and we’re thinking of our response, most times butting in way before they are even finished speaking, we just can’t contain ourselves, blurting out our opinion.. especially if its some good gossip.
You might be very surprised when truly listening, in fact… you may think you never even knew that person before!  Its especially hard listening to family members, this is because we tend to think we already know what they are going to say.
They say the number one cause of divorce is lack of communication, witch really means! lack of listening . Many married couples that have been together for years end in divorce, because they haven’t listen to each other in years and really don’t even know each other anymore, we’re not the same people we were years ago.  However if you ask a couple while their still getting along in their relationship, they will say things like …we can read each others minds or I know them better then they know their selves. When really we’re  just in the habit of not listening…  we don’t know who we are so we just hope the other half does.
To listen without the intention of responding is to truly listen, pay close attention to yourself, Are you listening or are you thinking and judging and waiting to respond. While the other is talking, are you thinking  stuff like …” I know what you’re going to say, and the answer is no!, your lying to me, I heard this before!, I hate that shirt you’re wearing. you don’t know what the hell your talking about, how long are you going to go on about it .”
Our teenage children can be very difficult to listen to, they are changing who they are every day, so its very important to listen without judgment , their not a 6 year old anymore  If your teenage child says “I want to go to my friends house on Saturday night”  before they  even said “friends house” you already are thinking ” she is asking me “can I drop out of school,  do drugs and have a child out of wedlock “.
Regardless If you try to hide thoughts in the conversation, thinking is an energy… and any negativity in our thoughts are going to be in your conversations by vibrations.
  When we meet a new person we tend to start thinking and judging from the moment we lay eyes on them.  We are sizing them up, comparing them to ourselves, labeling, judging. “She’s good looking, I hate her, what is she thinking wearing that! she seem so phony, “,  the hole time shaking their hand and mechanically introducing yourself.
You haven’t a clue what their name is, you have been busy thinking.
We also tend to do the same to ourselves when meeting people we start judging ourselves “I cant compete with these people, they seem much more better, richer, etc . I feel out of place here, I should have worn the other out fit, he is more successful then me, their house is nicer, newer.
 We all do this and so its seems to be normal but it doesn’t have to be. it only causes  suffering and we miss out on opportunities, friendships, marriage.
Being present without thought can be very difficult at first, but with practice it becomes easier and even addicting …presence is being at peace. and peace is being happy.
 We all long for peace. which is probably why a lot of people have addictions…drugs, alcohol can feel like “presence” we tend to feel quite at ease when we have a few drinks in us. alcohol simulates “presence” if you have ever been intoxicated you may remember feeling at peace telling someone you just met how much you love them, talking to strangers like your best friends making plans to do things the next day. and later thinking what was I thinking!! .  Drugs and alcohol are illusions of ” presence” that’s what makes them so addicting. people can also become addicted to things that make you become alert, present, aware, like riding a motorcycle. while riding you are more present because its somewhat an adrenaline rush and our primal instincts tell us to be alert,  mountain climbing, jumping out of planes.
Working out at the gym can simulate the fight or flight feeling which makes you feel alert and closer to feeling present.  Being truly present means having an awareness of the moment.  Controlling your thinking  you are then able to drink or climb a mountain because you enjoy it…not because you are addicted and want to escape your thinking.
Even watching TV can keep us from our own minds, its very addicting to lose yourself in a movie .
Your body does not know the difference of a movie or real life it reacts with the same vibration, example a sad movie will make you cry, a happy make you laugh and feel good , a drama will make you feel angry. So pay  attention to your thoughts and your bodies response, along with listening to those around you listen to your thinking, awareness is all that’s needed .
By Kari Pelz

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