Can You Hear Other People Speak?

In order to hear what another is actually saying, one must stop talking. But one must also stop assuming they already know what the other person is saying before they actually hear it. They not only need to keep their mouth shut when listening to another person, but they need to also shut up their thoughts that are drowning the other person's words out.

If I think I know what you're going to say before you say it, or know what you're thinking because I think I "know you so well", then I'm making assumptions INSTEAD OF listening or hearing. 

You might say "It's so beautiful today, I think I'm going to walk down to the lake. Do you want to come?" 

What did I HEAR you say... if I admire you and want your attention, I might hear something more like "One of the things I like to do is take a walk by the lake on a beautiful day, it helps to center my thoughts and spirit, and helps me to stay as great and wonderful as I am. Usually I go alone, but I would like to invite you  to accompany me on my lovely meditative journey."

OR, if I resent you or ENVY you, if I WANT to hear you in a negative "light", I might hear something like "I don't feel like doing any work, again, I'm trying to avoid doing work and avoid your requests for helping you do your work, you're such a hard worker and I'm a lazy spoiled brat... so I'm going to go down by the lake and play around instead of doing anything responsible... if you come with me then you can't blame me for not doing any work because you'll be with me. So.. wanna come?"

OR, if I'm looking down my nose at you, like I'm above you somehow, I might hear "I'm going down to the lake to do something shameful and bad, or something stupid or whacko, or something that will get me dirty and waste time, or that's dangerous, and probably hang out with a bunch of bad people. Wanna come?"

OR if I think you don't like ME, whether it's true or not, I might hear "I'm going down to the lake, and I'm only inviting you to be polite, I don't really want you to come, so stay here and leave me alone, you're not wanted."

OR if I think you're "cool" and "tough" and I want your attention and approval, I might hear "Hey I'm headed down to the lake to do ...(insert activity here, whatever is supposed to be "cool" to the listener... hunting.. going on a power boat... going sailboarding... looking for the opposite sex...doing drugs or drinking...going to the beach...etc.etc.)...  YOU IN?"

All of these different version of what the other person ACTUALLY SAID were in the LISTENER'S MIND, it's not what came out of the SPEAKER'S MOUTH.

"It's so beautiful today, I think I'm going to walk down to the lake. Do you want to come?"

People do this all the time with other people. They don't LISTEN and HEAR what other people are ACTUALLY TRYING TO COMMUNICATE TO THEM, because they think they already KNOW what the person is thinking, feeling, planning, remembering, and saying, based on the picture they created in their heads of that person, usually fraught with biases, emotions, judgments, and false assumptions.

In order to hear others speak, we have to clear our mind clutter so we stop making assumptions and jumping to conclusions, and keep our mouths shut while they're talking. Then when they finish speaking, ask questions to understand more, instead of just inserting our own views, opinions, emotions, judgments, and advice.