Open-hearted Listening

Attunement means curious, open-hearted listening without judgment.  Attunement means dropping your own point of view for a moment to fully inhabit the reasons behind someone else’s point of view and its meaning.  Attunement means faith that every point of view is compelling and valuable.   More than that, every point of view is necessary for us to come to the most creative and intelligent decision.

One of my favorite proponents of attunement is Arnold Mindell.*  His name for it is “Deep Democracy.”  The Process Work Institute in Portland believes in the value of all points of view.  In their conflict-resolution program, facilitators deliberately look for all opinions.  If no one will speak up at a meeting for a particular point of view, the facilitator herself will take on that role.  Their commitment to listening to everyone comes out of a fundamental belief that everyone must be heard and understood to create truly inspired decisions.*

Take-Home Point: Attunement, or Deep Democracy, means taking the time to learn all points of view and coordinate them into a new, higher understanding of the issue at hand.

*Arnold Mindell, Sitting in the Fire (Portland, Oregon: Lao Tse Press, 1996).