My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.
More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.
My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.
- William Stafford
How often in our daily lives do we truly listen to one another?
Generally we are listening with only half our mind. With the other half we are busy filtering what is being said – do we agree or reject it – and we get busy preparing and rehearsing in our heads how we are going to reply, how we can best influence the other person with our opinion. All the while the other person is still talking.
In a Circle of Trust® we give each other the gift of deep and open listening. In this way we help “hear each other into speech”. Because we have no agenda to help or fix or influence each other, we are able to truly listen. As our listening becomes more open, the sense of trust builds and our speaking becomes more open as well. As we learn to listen more deeply to others, we in turn learn to listen more deeply to ourselves, which may be one of the most important outcomes of a Circle of Trust.