Rob Foxcroft on listening

In this conversation, we uncover some of the many layers of listening, inspired on Rob’s new book. In addition to the video below, there is also a printable PDF transcript.

What about listening? Here are three ways to think about it.

How any religion has a boundary. There is an ‘us’and a ‘them’. And listening is a bigger thing than religion. Listening has no boundary. Whoever we meet shows us a new world.

How listening makes it possible not to be missionary. I don’t have to say, ‘Here I am. You can learn from me.’ I feel squeamish when I say that. I feel fine when I say, ‘Here you are. I can learn from you.’

How I want two things. I want to follow the natural line, the line of your thoughts and feelings. I say:
We have to approach the natural line with respect always, even with reverence.

And I want to be meditative, to approach the hidden, the place where silence falls; to come close to the gates of dawn, where new light may break over the horizon.

So there’s a conflict inherent in the practice of listening. Wanting the speaker to wait upon the unknown has a tendency to corrupt being faithful to the natural line. It’s a happy thing when the two come together:

When you feel heard a silence falls.
In that silence more may come.
Often it is something deeper: you can feel it
Just now forming at the edge of being.

Who is Rob Foxcroft? “I’ve been a classical musician all my life and have been teaching piano-playing for many years. Almost from the beginning I found that listening to other people did more for my life than anything else could do. In March 1988 I went to Chicago to learn focusing-and-listening from Gene Gendlin. Later I studied the person-centered approach with Brian Thorne. I write poems and essays. I used to build drystone walls and have loved creating a garden. I like to be in the hills, by the sea or quietly at home with my family. I recently brought out a book about empathy, self-empathy and the act of listening. It is called: Feeling Heard, Hearing Others.” See website/book.

Published September 2018.