Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Principled Commitment: An Adult Program on Building Strong Relationships

Activity 3: Introduction To Deep Listening

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Description of Activity

Offer these or similar words to introduce the activity:

Listening is a foundational element of good communication. Without someone to listen, communication would be incomplete.

Deep listening adds another dimension to listening. It helps people listen to what is deep inside, needing to be expressed, yet often ignored or passed over. When we are truly heard, a deep connection begins to grow, strengthening our relationship.

In her book The Sacred Art of Listening, Kay Lindahl, founder of the Listening Center, describes the practice of deep listening as a sacred art. She lists three elements that are essential to deep listening: silence, reflection, and presence.

Silence slows us down and gives us a chance to reflect. It helps us be present to others. In everyday communication, we so often rush to fill silences with words. In deep listening, we allow and even invite silence.

Reflection involves taking in what we have heard. Sometimes our first reactions are not representative of our true inner wisdom. Pausing before responding enables us as listeners to integrate content and respond from our better selves.

Presence is the connection and attention we bring to those with whom we communicate. When we offer our full presence, free from distraction, we are better able to truly listen and enable our partners to feel truly heard.

Distribute Handout 1, Nine Guidelines for Listening to Others, and review the guidelines with the group. Invite participant questions and comments. Ask:

  • Which of these guidelines do you find most practical for everyday communication?
  • Which guidelines are most important for times of intense emotional connection between couples?