Why is putting energy into listening carefully so important? Listening creates connection, a critical touchstone of human existence. When we feel heard, we feel connected. In his book, “Lost Connections,” Johann Hari points to people in Russia, Japan and China; pursuing happiness in those countries is approached quite differently. “You try to make things better for your group-for the people around you. That’s what you think happiness means, so it seems obvious to you.” (p181).
When I was an exchange student in Ukraine, I remember watching a young mother buy cheese which was an astronomical price at the time, and give it to her small daughter. While she had none herself, she had happiness.
The connection we have with others binds us, so that their sorrow is our sorrow, and their joy is our joy. Those fibrous tendrils transmit the simple and the profound equally. Receiving and responding with compassion matters.