Thinking about this notion of listening and receptivity is a good reminder that when we hit roadblocks with clients, often, the problematic resistance is within us.
Some great thoughts on listening well. [emphasis mine]
When you’re really listening, you don’t expect anything and you don’t want anything.
If you’re listening to a person, for example, you simply take in what they’re saying: the timbre of their voice, the rhythm of their speech, their inflection.
Sure, a great deal amount of mental activity is required to rationally understand what’s being said, but this, ideally, should be happening the in background, out of consciousness.
That little voice inside us should not be commenting upon or judging what you’re hearing. There will be time for that later, when you recall what you’ve listened to and have the chance to speak about it and be listened to yourself.
This state of receptivity also applies to listening to music, and even to the visual world. Broadly speaking, we can listen to a painting or a photograph in the same way we listen to a symphony. We can take it in, initially at least, without going on and on about it inside our own minds. (Try it for yourself: next time you’re in front of a painting, rather than look at it, try to listen to it. Changing your approach will significantly alter your experience.)
Put simply, listening is about temporarily relinquishing control.