Friday, January 20, 2006

Listening Filters: Friend or Foe?

In my personal Integral Development Plan, one of the things I try to pay attention to are the listening "filters" through which I view the world. My favorite filters are "good/bad," and "right/wrong." They're the ones that always seem to get me in trouble, hence the title of this article, "Filters: Friend or Foe?"

Othe examples of listening filters are personal biases, gender, culture, and stage development.

If we're not aware of when these filters are triggered, they can cause terrible damage: to relationships, jobs, politics, almost any part of our lives. Failing to notice them and acting out based on the judgements that accompany those filters are a formula for disaster. By not dealing with out filters, we remain in a reactive mode.

I had an amazing AHA! moment this last year. It suddenly occurred I needed to pay attention to the filters I use when listening to ME! I was only watching for my filters when listening to others! I think the filter I use most when listening to myself is "find the fault." In other words, what's wrong with this picture? What am I missing, what have I not considered, where am I wrong?

What are the filters we apply when listening to ourselves? How do we listen to ourselves? This is a challenging practice. It seems there is no place more than ourselves that we have it as "the way it is."

The AHA! moment: These filters aren't our enemies! They are our allies and we need to learn how to use them and pay attention. We need to learn to use those filters to hear the wisdom of others and ourselves!

When paying attention to my filters, I try to notice the corresponding felt senses that come with awareness of those filters, and not acting or making judgement, learning how to listen more deeply and compassionately.

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