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Compassionate, Spiritual, and Creative Listening in Teaching and Learning

by Jim Garrison

Background/Context: Listening is largely overlooked in cultures constituted on the basis of the freedom of speech, such as we find in the United States and elsewhere.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The article explores compassionate listening as a creative spiritual activity. Such listening recognizes the suffering of others in ways that open up possibilities for healing and transformative communication. It is particularly important for a caring profession like teaching and critical for good teaching and learning relationships.

Research Design: Relying on philosophical reflection, the article mixes some of the basic ideas of Eastern thought revolving around the image of the Bodhisattvas as they who constantly ameliorate suffering. The article concentrates on the Bodhisattva �Perceiver of the World�s Sounds.�

Conclusions/Recommendation: We can only relieve suffering if we attend carefully to the needs, desires, interests, and purposes of others and respond in terms of their best possibility in the situation. Such self-eclipsing allows caregivers to avoid the horrors of conditional love. Such listening lies beyond theory and ideology in the immediate, directly involving sympathetic response, but not pity. It is not the kind of sympathy that assumes that the pain in others has the same characteristics or source as our own.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 11, 2010, p. 2763-2776 ID Number: 15791, Date Accessed: 10/20/2018 11:12:57 AM

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