Have you ever thought you are the only one who has the right to decide what you think and how you act? When we shut ourselves off to others we are unable to learn from our experiences. Listening deeply helps us develop our intuition to deal with unexpected life situations. When we listen deeply we learn what we need to know (to lead a better life) and we develop trust in others.
When we listen deeply we begin to see wrong perceptions in ourselves and in the other person. Thich Nhat Hanh stated,
The other person has wrong perceptions about himself and about us. And we have wrong perceptions about ourselves and the other person. And that is the foundation for violence and conflict and war. The terrorists, they have the wrong perception. They believe that the other group is trying to destroy them as a religion, as a civilization. So they want to abolish us, to kill us before we can kill them. And the antiterrorist may think very much the same way—that these are terrorists and they are trying to eliminate us, so we have to eliminate them first. Both sides are motivated by fear, by anger, and by wrong perception. But wrong perceptions cannot be removed by guns and bombs. They should be removed by deep listening, compassionate listening, and loving space.
How do we listen deeply? Keep it simple. Relax and listen to what others are feeling with their hearts. If other thoughts come into your mind, gently let them go. Become totally committed to not interrupting others. Let people say what they need to say. Open all your senses and listen. When you listen deeply you change yourself. When you change yourself you change the world.