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“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
Ernest Hemingway

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Introduction:
If we can learn to listen completely then we have discovered a powerful method to live in the moment.   Learning to be present helps to solve the issues of stress and anxiety that arise from worrying about the future and not being able to let go of the past.

Listening completely, builds and develops our relationships both at work and home.  If our partner or work colleague is talking to us, our mind may be double or triple-pointed, split between their words and our phone, what we are going to say next, or tasks to do later.

To listen completely requires training and depends on a single pointedness of mind.  If we can learn this practice we are able to appreciate and engage with the words spoken by others.  We are more sensitive to tone and silence.  There is more clarity in our mind so we don’t necessarily personalise content and we have a foundation for taking an objective view.

Developing the ability to step back from our own thoughts and listen completely is an art.   The seven practices offered over the next seven weeks will help us to get started.

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Part 1

1) A Mindful Listening Practice 
(time required: two minutes – thirty minutes, depending on experience)

Sitting quietly we become aware of the sounds outside the room we are in (if indoors),  just listening with an open ear, not following mental commentaries about the sound.

Become aware of the sounds as they come and go.

Gradually draw your mind inwards, become aware of the sounds within the room.  Perhaps there is just the hum, be aware of this.  Let pass any thoughts or elaborations about the sounds you may hear .

Take a mindful breath that brings you into the body, naturally drawing you into the present moment.

Try to listen to the sounds of your body.

If you are feeling adventurous – go deeper, listen to the sounds of your mind, letting thoughts pass instead of becoming entangled with them.

Simply dwell in the present, listening to sounds and thoughts come and go, whatever they may be.
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This practice can be done initially for several minutes and then extended up to thirty minutes.

2) Listening to Music

3) Listening to a Friend

4) Listening to a Lecture

5) Listening to the City

6) Listening to Nature

7) Listening with Notes