Being immersed in the listening of course raises the shadow of listening and that is Defendedness.
I am wondering about being defended and how that stops us from reaching into vulnerability and having an open heart. I see people all around me and in my scared moments i become one myself, who defend their right to be right over everything else.
Years ago i had the brainwave to call it The Tyranny of Right.
Wanting to be right over learning, over growing, over listening, over tending to someone i care about
Being defended against anything that threatens what i know and believe to be true, is what keeps me small and disengaged from the world.
I facetiously wrote that not listening was like a monkey in a cage flinging poo at passersby. It might feel good temporarily to have flung the poo, hell your cage might even be less smelly at the end of it all, but after a while you realise you are still in the cage.
Being defended is like that. We sit in our well barricaded ideas of what is right and how things should be and we deploy all kinds of missiles - harsh words, judgment, meanness, sarcasm, sneering - which help us feel safe and keep the "others" at bay.
At the end of it all however we are still in a cage.
What will get us out of the cage?
By realising there might be another way. By understanding that in order for life to be any different we have to make changes. We can't wait for the "others" to change. It's up to our sorry monkey selves to do something. It might require something more of us which can be hard and scary and the thought can be tiring as hell when you are already exhausted from flinging poo. But unless you like the poo flinging more than you like the idea of not being in a cage we monkeys have to do something different.
We have to pay attention to the "others". We have to learn about them. We have to notice the ways they do things, change our own behaviour and one day we will find the way to take the key and set ourselves free.
Oh i may be stretching the metaphor but i think we humans have a much greater capacity for understanding than many of us, me included, allow ourselves to believe.
Does it mean that when we listen we have to adopt the attitudes and beliefs of the "others"?
No the monkey doesn't have to start wearing clothes and taking photos, once out of the cage the monkey is free to monkey on but won't ever learn what truly works, what suits them, what is their natural state without first learning from the "others".
I wonder how many cages i can learn my way out of. What about you?