Creative listening takes place when one person devotes his/her attention wholeheartedly to what another person is saying. Creative listening is receptive, but not passive. It is receptive because of the listener is taking in what the other person is saying, feeling and experiencing. It is active and not passive because the listener is actively seeking to understand what the other person is expressing.
There is healing power in creative listening because it develops a climate between two people in which relationship and understanding can grow. It also relives isolation and prevents evil from developing. Creative listening is a fundamental and important part of all human relationships. It is essential for all of us to learn how to listen creatively to other friends; listed to friends, employers to their employees and vice versa, parent to children, husband and wives to each other. We even need to learn to listen to our enemies and those who oppose us in life. In this we may turn a hostile relationship around at least, learn something important. There are many other reason, why so many people lack the art of creative listening, first because creative listening does not come naturally, but is for most people, a skill that must be acquired. We would like to think that the capacity to relate comes naturally, but a great extent, it is something that must be learnt in life just as other abilities must be learnt. It is something that requires work.
Secondly, many people lack the art of creative listening because of what is not. It is not lecturing, it is not giving advice and it is not admonishing someone. It is not making pronouncements, it is not judging. All of these functions may have their place in human communication, but they do not belong to creative listening. When we want to listen, we must be careful to rule out the part of us that wants to be lectured, admonished, advised or judged. But right here is where many people fail at listening, for the judging, lecturing, advising side of us wants to jump in and take over. To listen effectively, we must be able to put aside these other functions at least for the time being. This means that when we listen to someone we must reject the temptation to leap in and say “let me tell you what I should do” or “I understand exactly what you are feeling”.
Truly, it has been said that we become what we do, listening is a maturing activity if we listen creatively, it will not only help the other person, it will also help us to mature. Creative listening is simple, but it is also hard work. It is the cutting down of a tree with an axe. There are only few basic principles to follow when cutting down a tree, but it is hard work. And listening is hard work for it requires a concentration of energy on another person and on what he is saying and feeling. In fact, it is usually more important to hear feelings than its content.
Simple, but hard work, that is, creative listening. And precisely because it is hard work, we do not listen to everyone nor can we always be available to people who want us to listen to them. For instance, if a persons has been drinking, we may decline to listen to him/her. It does no good to listen to a person under the influence of alcohol; it drains us, without helping him/her. The situation is similar with regard to people under the influence of drugs. Sometimes it does not help people to listen to them on the telephone either (though not always). The reason for this is that when a person calls us on the phone, it is at that person’s convenience, but perhaps at our own inconvenience. Many people call others and immediately start to talk out their agenda without inquiring if it good time for such a talk or not. It does not do anyone any good to listen to another person unless that person is talking responsibly.