Compassionate Emptiness

One of the books I’m reading right now is It’s Not About the Coffee:  Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks by Howard Behar.  In it he talks about practicing Compassionate Emptiness.  So often when we listen to someone, we spend 30% of our time listening and 70% of our time thinking of what to say in response.  Compassionate emptiness is listening without any judgments, preconceived notions — just listening to what the other person is saying without projecting our thoughts and opinions on their words.  By being empty of our selves, we are able to increase our compassion.  We are able to really listen to what the other person is saying.  Too often what we heard the person say and what they actually said are two different things because of the “spin” we put on it.  When we listen with less of an agenda and more caring, we can truly hear what someone says, what they mean, what they aren’t saying, what they want from us as a listener, and then we can respond appropriately.  Most of the time, when someone wants to tell us their problem, we spend most of our time finding the solution when, in reality, all they want is for us to listen.  They want a safe place to say how they feel and have their words validated.  Compassionate emptiness.  Boy, that’s really something I need to work on!

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4 Comments »

  1. Stephanie said

    My dearest Connie…

    So often you HAVE truly listened to me, don’t doubt yourself. We all have things that we need to work on, myself included. I have always appreciated the feedback I get from you because your exceptionally intelligent mind always comes up with another point of view I’ve yet to think about.

    Improve all you like sweets, I’ll back you all the way, and love you just the same because I love you just the way you are!:)

  2. Joanne said

    I agree with this whole heartedly. I think most people, when hearing a “story” or an event, are most times trying to think of something to “top” it. However, I do not think that between true friends this is the case. Between true friends, anything can be said and understood; nothing can be said and understood; the wrong thing can be said and understood (and even forgiven).

  3. Ann said

    Compassionate Emptiness……Hmmmm. Something definitely to contemplate. I am one who always feels obligated to have a solution, suggestion, comment etc. Now to realize that only to listen with care and love is AOK. Amazing advise for many. I am a new mom of a college daughter and I will venture to say that compassionate emptiness might have a vital part of future communication in our household. I too will have to work on this topic.

    PS From your firt blog entry – I love Secrets of the Vine. Great Book!!

  4. Steve Moe said

    Dear Connie,
    Well said!
    Beautiful sharing!
    And nice to know you better!
    Love,
    Steve

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