Well ! No one has ever bothered to ask the Hare his side of the story, so let me tell you the story from a different point of view…
I met the Hare and sat down with him for a heart to heart talk.This is what he had to say after we spent the better part of a balmy summer afternoon getting to know one other.It was a wonderful experience, believe me..
“Yes, I am the hare who lost.No, I did not get lazy or complacent.Let me explain.I was hopping over the meadows near the hills and looked back to realize that the tortoise was nowhere to be seen.Assured of my healthy lead, I decided to take a short nap under the large banyan tree near the pond.The anticipation of the race had kept me up all night.For days, that old silly tortoise had boasted about his ability to plod for hundreds of miles without stopping.Life is a marathon, he said, not a sprint.I wanted to show him that I could run both far and fast.
The shade of the tree was like an umbrella.I found an almost oval rock, covered it with grass, and turned it into a makeshift pillow.I could hear the leaves rustling and the bees buzzing – it felt they were collaborating and even conspiring to put me to sleep.And it didn’t take them long to succeed.I saw myself drifting on a log in a beautiful stream of water.
Why Sri Krishna did not save the Pandavas when they played dice with Duryadhana & Shakuni
Since childhood, Uddhava had been close to Krishna, charioting him and serving him in several ways. He never asked for any wish or boon from Sri Krishna. When Krishna was at the verge of completing his life’s mission on earth, he called Uddhava and said, “Dear Uddhava, in this avatar of mine, many people have asked and received boons from me; but you have never asked me for anything. Why don’t you ask for something now?”
Even though Uddhava had never asked anything for himself, he had been carefully observing Krishna since his childhood. He had always wondered about certain contradictions between Krishna’s teachings and actions, and had always wanted to understand the reasons for these apparent or real contradictions.
So he asked Krishna, “I have observed that several things you have done or not done in your life were different from what you have always taught or stood for. I truly wish to understand why — for instance, during the great yuddha, the role you played confounds me to this day. I’m curious and wish to understand. Will you explain?”
Krishna said, “Uddhava, please ask without hesitation.”
What we often fail to comprehend is that active and assertive listening is THE most important communication skill. In fact, we usually put more effort in how we can get our point across and become more assertive in what we ask and express, than actually realize the significance of our listening skills. We tend to forget that communication is a mutual process of listening to the other and expressing ourselves.
Today our focus will be what prevents us from listening actively and attentively. By recognizing the 12 blocks to listening and realizing when we engage in those, we can subsequently improve our listening skills. This will inevitably bring positive changes in the way we communicate with others.
After all, listening does mean not just hearing with our ears, but actively being mindful and attentive of what is being expressed, so that we first understand it fully. You are what you listen to- and this does not only apply to music!
The 12 Blocks to Active Listening
If you often find yourself in situations that you cannot communicate with someone properly, maybe you are also not listening properly.
Of course it is understandable that we can not always give our full attention to whoever is talking to us- yet understanding what prevents us from doing so is a first step in making necessary adjustments in order to improve our communication. Let’s look at 12 common blocks to listening.
1. Mind Reading
Have you ever caught yourself drifting away from what the other person is saying, because you are already making an assumption in your mind about what they will say?
Although this is to some extent natural and automatic in many conversations, and it may suggest that you understand the other quite well so that you can already guess what they’re about to say, mind reading can become an obstacle in your communication with others.
The reason for this is, the more time you invest in trying to figure out what will be said next, the less involved you are with the present moment and the other person.
After all, no matter how well you know and understand your conversational partner, you are not really in their head- so it is beneficial to actually listen to them rather than presuming you know their next sentence before they utter it.
We can all be guilty of this occasionally; rehearsing means preparing what you will respond next, before your partner has finished talking.
This can often be accompanied by interrupting the other, to say what popped in your mind- which can take a negative turn quite easily, because interrupting is regarded as quite offensive and aggressive and can trigger a defensive attitude of the other person.
Then your focus is on constructing your next argument, not on the person talking to you. Consequently, you focus on yourself and not the other- but listening is all about the other.
It can therefore be worthwhile to pay close attention to them for a bit- it won’t be long until you also have a chance to speak. In addition, the more attentively you listen, the better you will absorb and understand the other’s message- so the more authentic you can be in your response.
Filtering means having selective attention only to certain types of information, and letting your mind drift away otherwise.
We tend to use filtering when we want to ensure we are not threatened, or when we expect or wish to hear specific things from the other.
For instance, if you feel you are in danger if the other becomes upset, your attention may be more tuned to cues of increased emotion of the other. If the threatening cue is not present, then you can be distracted by your own thoughts and lose concentration.
Understandably, this is a block to effective communication because you do not receive the whole message of whatever the other wants to say- only fragments of it. You basically hear only what you want to hear.
Judging means having a negative opinion that is already firmly established about the other person, or making negative criticism in your mind about what they are saying.
By making judgements or assessing that the other person is not worth listening to, you close yourself from actually hearing what they have to say. Being open and flexible is always an advantage in communication.
Something the other just said triggered a memory, image or thought in your mind- and then you got carried away on your train of thought.
You know how it goes, one thought let to another, and another, and off you go! Suddenly you are disconnected from your partner, lost in your own mind, drifting away. Or you simply lost interest and therefore concentration.
Often when you return to the conversation, you have absolutely no idea of what has been said so far. You may feel confused or awkward. This can be very embarrassing in some occasions, especially when you ask a question about something that has already been expressed while you were off somewhere far. It is quite obvious that such a thing is disrespectful to the other person.
Once upon a time,.in a small village lived two poor farmers. They had small piece of land on which they worked hard to take care of their own and their family’s needs.
Suddenly, both of them died on the same day. Yamraj (God of Death) took both of them together to God.
God asked them, ‘What was missing in your life?’
One of the farmers said angrily, ‘You gave me nothing and I lived a very painful life. I had to work in the fields like a bull all my life & whatever I earned had to be spent on just feeding myself & my family. I couldn’t wear good clothes or feed my family good food & whenever I was able to make some extra income, someone would come & take away all. I had nothing left with me.’
After listening to him God again asked, ‘What do you want now? What should I make you in your next life?’
The farmer replied, “God, do something so that I never have to give anything to anyone. I only receive money and things from all sides.’
God said, ‘Ok. You can go now. I will give you the life you have asked for.’
Now, it was the turn of the other farmer. God asked him, ‘What was missing in your life?’
The farmer, with folded hands said ‘God, You have already given me everything. A good family, some land, plenty of food to eat. I and my family never slept hungry.
There was only one shortcoming in my life which I regretted my whole life & still do today. Sometimes, hungry or thirsty people used to come to my door, to ask for food but I was not able to give them anything as I didn’t have enough to give & they had to return from my door, hungry.’
God asked him, ‘What do you want now? What do you want to be in your next life?’
The farmer pleaded with God, ‘God, do something so that no one will ever go away from my door, thirsty or hungry.’
God said, ‘Ok. You can leave now. You will be given what you asked for.’
Both the farmers were born in the same village on the same day. The farmer who asked only to recieve money from all sides but not give anything to anyone – he became a beggar in the village. Now he didn’t have to give anything to anyone. Anyone who passed by him, used to give him money & things.
Moral: It is often seen that, mostly people always like others’ things more & because of this they are not able to live their life well & are never happy. If you want to live a good life, think good. Do not count just the shortcomings of your life, rather be grateful & enjoy what God has given & serve others, you’ll never lack anything & will ways be happy.
On the other hand, the farmer who didn’t ask God for anything except that there would be never a day when anyone has to leave his house thirsty and hungry – became the richest man of that village.
Summary:Think Again (Canada/US) explores the power of rethinking in a world where certainty and dogma often spread like wildfire.
Much of the time, we hold onto our deeply cherished beliefs and seek out confirming evidence for them. In the process, we settle on beliefs that may be flawed and rarely, if ever, revisit them.
When we do so, we act in three main roles: as preachers trying defend our beliefs from questioning, as prosecutors attacking the arguments of the opposition, and as politicians using rhetoric to persuade others to our point of view.
However, there is a fourth role that is often neglected: that of a scientist questioning a hypothesis.
I co-created an infographic outlining these four modes of thinking. Check it out :
Lao Tzu used to say that in a storm big trees stand rigidly and so they are uprooted. Small plants bend with the winds ; the storm blows over them . The roots of big trees are overturned , they laid flat on the ground; but small plants stand as straight as they did before. The storm gives new life to the plants, but it destroys the trees which are stubborn and proud. It is the same storm ! The weak are saved and the mighty are destroyed……..
……What we call strength in the language of this world is weakness in the language of spirituality. And that which we call weakness in the language of this world is strength in the language of spirituality. To bow down is weakness in this world : “Come what may , do not bow down to anything”. In the language of spirituality, bowing down is an invitation for the energy of strength to fill you.
And one who bows down is filled from all sides: energy from the whole universe starts flowing towards him. He becomes like a vessel . His invitation is heard everywhere.