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Did You Hear Me?

A Love-Hate Relationship

As a designer, and budding blogger, it is clearly the essence of my livelihood. I am a living, breathing Apple advertisement – iPhone in my pocket, Apple Watch adorning my wrist, iPad in my hand, MacBook on my lap, listening to my iPod, watching my Apple TV. But sometimes I wish it would all just go away. Another reason I love being a yogi is for the chance to unplug, to close my eyes, knowing if I open them there will be no glowing screen staring back at me.

I have a total love-hate relationship with technology.

After growing completely annoyed last spring, I created a house rule. Every evening at 8:00pm, Brad and I put our phones on the stairs – no more checking Facebook or email – until picking the phone back up on our way to bed, with an opportunity to check it for importance one last time. Being distracted by the TV is bad enough, how could we possibly be listening and connecting to one another without disconnecting from some of our devices?

I was tired of...“did you hear me?”

Having the ability and capacity to truly listen is rare. This became evident in Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) during discussion on the levels of listening. Chances are we have all experienced or reached each level on occasion. But to be better listeners, we need to fully open our ears, eyes, and heart more often.

"The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT."

-Alfred Brendel

5 Levels of Listening (Low to High):

1. Ignoring Plain and simple – not listening to ourselves or others. Everyone wants to be understood, felt, and loved. By ignoring, none of those feelings can manifest.

2. Pretending

While it may appear like listening, being occupied with our own thoughts or actions. Continuing to be glued to a device, but nodding along.

3. Selective

Similar to pretending to listen, not every word is heard. What is heard is from our own point of view, and our replies are formulated while the other is speaking.

4. Attentive

Just listening at the surface level, not digging deep. Still continuing to see our own point of view evoking a “me too” type response.

5. Empathic

Listening with the intent to understand, being vulnerable to the subject and emotion, without a personal agenda. This is the only level of listening where one is truly present.

With a night off from YTT, chores checked off the list, and some time to relax, I was reminded our house rule drifted off some time ago. I thought about bringing it back. Again, I felt annoyed as I tried to talk to Brad, while watching TV, phone in hand, iPad on the coffee table, music playing over top everything.

In that moment, I wanted it to all go away.

With our focus so concentrated on our screens, scrolling and typing constantly on our devices, we miss out on cherished opportunities to listen to ourselves, loved ones, and the world around us. Technology is awesome, but so are relationships. Unplug once in a while. Make it go away. Disconnect to connect.

After all of our basic human needs are met...there is no greater need than to be heard.

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