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The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction Paperback – February 1, 2003
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"Shafir, chief of speech pathology at Massachusetts's Lahey Clinic with over 25 years of clinical experience helping patients learn to speak, has written a real "heads-up" book for this age of soundbytes, multitasking, and hidden agendas. Communication is an interactive process dependent on both speaking and listening. Too often, the listening part is given short shrift, and we are left wondering why we feel "empty." Defining listening as "the willingness to see a situation through the eyes of the speaker," Shafir goes beyond the mechanics of good listening behavior to an approach requiring relaxation, focus, and a desire to learn from the speakers' perspective. In a friendly and informal tone, she discusses specific exercises, activities, and strategies to improve awareness, provides illustrations, and gives examples from her clinical experiences. While the book has relevance to anyone who spends time talking with others, counselors and those in the helping professions will find its solid and practical advice especially useful." --DDenise S. Sticha, Seton Hill Coll., Greensburg, PA, Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc
"...Don't just "read" this remarkable book, use it as a guide and practice its teachings in your everyday life." --Jane McLaughlin-Dobisz, Zen Master
"Shafir takes us to the heart of relationships and shows us the power of authentic listening-not only to others, but to our own inner self." --Robert Gerzon, psychotherapist and author of Finding Serenity
"The Zen of Listening awakens us to the potential for intimacy, compassion, and growth inherent in all of our most important relationships." --Douglas Stone, co-author of the best-selling Difficult
About the Author
Rebecca Shafir, M.A. CCC, is a certified speech/language pathologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. A ten-year student of Zen, she teaches communication workshops nationwide and has coached media personalities and political candidates since 1980. She is available to present a variety of programs ranging from keynote addresses to weeklong seminars tailored to meet the individual needs of corporations, health-care institutions, professional associations, universities, and the general public. For more information visit her website at www.mindfulcommunication.com.
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An experienced speech and language pathologist, Rebecca Shafir acknowledged early in her career that she needed to specialize not just in speaking, but in listening. As Shafir so eloquently states in the first chapter, “Our goal in becoming mindful listeners is to quiet the internal noise to allow the whole message and the messenger to be understood…listening is a gift we give to others.” She skillfully weaves together a tapestry of practical advice, the science behind how we listen and what we choose to pay attention to, the history of Zen Buddhism and how it relates to listening, and stories and vignettes of her own struggles with these practices. This book is for anyone genuinely seeking to improve their relationships and the lives of those around them through mindful listening. I love how inspiringly Shafir delivers the “reap what you sow” message: “by [putting in the effort required], you will abandon any narrow and self-limiting views about listening…and be free to experience the vast richness of each person you meet, and be able to absorb the wealth of knowledge and opportunity that exists with every waking breath”.
The whole "Zen" thing might throw some people off but this is not about Buddhist teachings in my opinion. This book is about paying attention to the noise we have inside and learning to quiet ourselves so that we can then attend to someone else. That is teaching that fits my Christian beliefs just fine.
I was really glad that I read this book. I now listen much more. That guy I like has even commented on how good a listener I am now. I also can see that I am listening better at work too. It is helpful in both my personal life and my work life.
As I read the book in paper form, I also appreciated the books attention to detail, such as how new chapters started on the right hand page. My one minor complaint about the book is that a brief discussion in the last chapter about the negative effects of online interactions seemed to be a missed opportunity. While it is good to keep challenges of various media in mind, it would have been a pleasant surprise to see a discussion of how the lessons in the book could be applied to make all interactions more effective. This does not take away the value of the book. This is worth a read if you are interested in learning more about how you can listen and communicate better.
meant to inspire a friend behind bars. I was so impressed with the description, I ordered a copy
for myself. I have since ordered 7 more copies.
The book delivers such clear, understandable, addressable truths, I honestly believe the world
would change if everybody read and practiced its
I am trying to find a way to distribute more copies
personally; I am that impressed.
I remind my chatty grandkids, "Listen with your ears and not your mouth", and I realize I have been guilty of exactly that. This book has helped me to see that I was not really paying close attention to others.
Ms Shafir offers some great ideas and how to use meditation to be better listeners and better human beings.
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