Are we (really) listening?

Acoustic ecology…

What a marvellous juxtaposition of terms. Gordon Hempton has been a pioneering acoustic ecologist, collecting sounds from around the world, over many decades. Peeling back the art of listening and redefining quiet and silence.

I listened in awe to his interview with Krista Tippett for On Being recently: Silence and the Presence of Everything.

It made me wonder if there might be a spectrum of listening, that we’ve largely forgotten or ignored in our always-on world:

0 – EMPTY – not even there, just appearing to listen but only going through the motions
1 – LISTEN FOR – waiting for the opportunity to put our point of view or experience
2 – LISTEN TO – being intentionally focussed, but screening out the rest
3 – LISTEN WITH – being present to the whole, noticing much more
4 – LISTEN IN – silence, deep listening at peace and without judgement, takes a while but certainly isn’t empty!

How’s our listening?