My background in Counseling tends to make me think in terms of developmental stages or evolution. So I am attracted to ideas/theories like Maslow, Piaget, Kohlberg, Graves, Beck, Wilber – Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, etc. So I came across “The Theory of U” by Otto Sharmer (recommended by the latter), I’ve posted the beginning of the theory which has to do with Evolving as a Listener. This also gels well with many of my Taoist beliefs about remaining open enough to say “I don’t already know”. “Change” has been a buzzword along with ‘Hope” these last few months. Real change happens when you remain truly OPEN. So, are you evolving as a Listener?
Learning to recognize the habits of attention in
any particular business culture requires, among
other things, a particular kind of listening.
Over more than a decade of observing people’s
interactions in organizations, I have noted four
different types of listening.
“Yeah, I know that already.” I call this type
of listening “downloading”—listening by
reconfirming habitual judgments. When
you are in a situation where everything
that happens confirms what you already
know, you are listening by downloading.
“Ooh, look at that!” This type of listening
is factual or object-focused: listening by
paying attention to facts and to novel or
disconfirming data. You switch off your
inner voice of judgment and listen to the
voices right in front of you. You focus on
what differs from what you already know.
Factual listening is the basic mode of
good science. You let the data talk to you.
You ask questions, and you pay careful
attention to the responses you get.
“Oh, yes, I know exactly how you feel.”
This deeper level of listening is empathic
listening. When we are engaged in real
dialogue and paying careful attention,
we can become aware of a profound shift
in the place from which our listening
originates. We move from staring at the
objective world of things, figures, and
facts (the “it-world”) to listening to the
story of a living and evolving self (the
“you-world”). Sometimes, when we say
“I know how you feel,” our emphasis is on
a kind of mental or abstract knowing. But
to really feel how another feels, we have
to have an open heart. Only an open heart
gives us the empathic capacity to connect
directly with another person from within.
When that happens, we feel a profound
switch as we enter a new territory in the
relationship; we forget about our own
agenda and begin to see how the world
appears through someone else’s eyes.
“I can’t express what I experience in
words. My whole being has slowed
down. I feel more quiet and present
and more my real self. I am connected
to something larger than myself.” This
type of listening moves beyond the
current field and connects us to an even
deeper realm of emergence. I call this
level of listening “generative listening,”
or listening from the emerging field of
future possibility. This level of listening
requires us to access not only our open
heart, but also our open will—our
capacity to connect to the highest future
possibility that can emerge. We no longer
look for something outside. We no longer
empathize with someone in front of us.
We are in an altered state. “Communion”
or “grace” is maybe the word that comes
closest to the texture of this experience.
When you operate from Listening 1 (downloading),
the conversation reconfirms what you
already knew. You reconfirm your habits of
thought: “There he goes again!”
When you operate
from Listening 2 (factual listening), you disconfirm
what you already know and notice what is new out
there: “Boy, this looks so different today!”
you choose to operate from Listening 3 (empathic
listening), your perspective is redirected to seeing
the situation through the eyes of another: “Boy,
yes, now I really understand how you feel about
it. I can sense it now too.”
And finally, when you
choose to operate from Listening 4 (generative
listening), you realize that by the end of the
conversation you are no longer the same person
you were when it began. You have gone through
a subtle but profound change that has connected
you to a deeper source of knowing, including the
knowledge of your best future possibility and self.
Want to know more? Go to:
I love discovering – don’t you?