A few weeks ago, I went to a fantastic meditation session led by Tara Brach.
The point of the session was learning to Listen without an Agenda. Listening with no purpose other than being open to the possibility that what you hear can change you.
A powerful moment came when she said (I think quoting someone else) that "not listening causes suffering."
Not in the 3rd World sense, of course, but you know how it feels when you can tell someone isn't paying attention to you. It hurts.
I had a few causes over the past few days to think about this in a larger context.
On a simple level, here's a blog post about what happens when we don't listen in a business sense, don't challenge our assumptions (as is one of my brother's favorite mantras), and not serve customers well.
But that's nothing compared to the 2 documentaries I saw recently.
One was an ESPN documentary about the Duke lacrosse team case of about 10 years ago and how they were framed because of an agenda. (If you can, set aside the numerous other issues that touched this case.)
The other was a powerful story about Allen Iverson, who's most famous line "We're talking about practice!" labeled him as a guy who didn't care...but that wasn't the full story.
All of these remind us of the importance of trying to remember to Listen as fully as we can and not rush to judgment.
Of course, that's much easier said than done.