How can anyone know what is in another’s heart unless one asks with true intent and willingness to understand without preconception. But asking necessitates the unconditional willingness to listen. And listening is one of the most difficult activities that can be undertaken. Right intent as well as the desire to seek congruent solutions must form the foundation for meaningful communication.
Although proper listening should not be tainted by preconception, it should be based upon agreed to precondition. It is established ground rules that address preconception. If one is able to clear the mind one is able to listen. Ground rules require that communicants be true to the purpose or communication cannot exist. If a field of snow is trodden with footsteps, history already exists. Newly fallen snow will only cover what was, like experience, emotion, and personality carried by all. To listen, one must with purposeful intent be willing to lay down a new blanket of snow if only for the moment.
Sensitivities, emotion, pride, upbringing a list so very long, are the hurdles we each carry that stand in the way of communication. But these can be overcome or put aside if we are willing to create a safe environment that permits trust and understanding to exist. What more intimate interaction can one submit to than that of responding openly to one who asks to be listened to? What greater unkindness can be perpetrated than that of breaking that trust?
Yet in the moment of sharing the same place, the same cold ground of the snowy field, we find communication is often incapable of taking root because we allow ourselves to remain inwardly divergent. Listening and communication only happen when they are an act of intent and purpose, an act of giving oneself to another.