Because of the multitudinous amounts of input we receive every day we have learned coping skills for wading through it and deflecting what we can’t deal with or want to hold onto for later.  One of these skills is using our ears to hear what is incoming, but decoupling the mental ‘listening’ faculty from this so that we either don’t have to process the information or can minimally deal with it.  Some people call this ‘selective deafness’ when Mom’s don’t hear children whining, spouses don’t hear each other talking, bosses don’t listen to their employees, politicians don’t listen to anyone and no one listens to politicians.  The list goes on and on.

The problem comes in when we can’t turn the listening part of us back on.  When we actually want to attend to information we should be able to turn the listening part of our brain back on so we can intake the information, experience, wisdom, that is occurring.  That way we can apply it to our lives or reject it or work with it for self-improvement, etc, etc.  But what happens when we can’t listen?  We can always hear what is coming our way.  Many times we actually can’t not heart it.  However all of our coping skills start up immediately to screen it out, shunt it away, divert us from its message and keep us from dealing with it at all.

This happens often when people ask a question and then get an answer.  They act as if they are taking in the message, but in reality they are dealing with coping skills that screens them from it.  So they then ask the same question again, ask it another way, ask it from another angle, ask and ask and ask again, constantly getting answers, but never truly ‘getting’ them.  Some of this is habit, which are hard to break because we don’t realize they are a habit and instead think of them as part of our identity.  “It’s that way because that’s just the way I am.”  Well, no.  It’s the way you’ve become.  Choose to work on that to become something different.  But much of this is also that listening requires us to stop, to change, to become quiet, and quiet can be deafening and terrifying.  Because if we’re quiet, we might hear the truth…that we’ve had the answer all along and now we have to do something about it.