One of the first skills a mediator learns is to actively listen, by which we mean taking out all our mind clutter of judgment, what they might do, what we might tell them, what we long to share, who we think was to blame etc and simply listen without thinking, simply be there, sitting in compassion, because if we gift our presence to another, it will simply by its silence enable them to sort things out for themselves. So active listening takes trust, trusting ourselves to keep ourselves away from interference and trusting that they, in however a horrible place of conflict they are, will in time find their way because we trust that they are capable of so doing if we only stay with them as they speak.
Its a hard thing to do when we are so overflowing with all our stuff as stated by Mark Nepo:
“But how do we listen?
It is so simple and so hard. So obvious to begin and so elusive to maintain.
In this lies the vitality of deep listening.
To keep beginning. Over and over.
To keep emptying and opening. And simply to keep listening.
For to listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean.
In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly,
with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”
– Mark Nepo,
from EXQUISITE RISK – Daring to Live an Authentic Life