Deep Listening – Thich Nhat Hanh

Deep Listening – Thich Nhat Hanh

Deep listening occurs when your mind is quiet. Your thoughts are flowing rather than crowding your mind with distractions, interpretations, judgments, conclusions or assumptions about the other person. Your mind is open, curious, interested — as though you were hearing this person for the first time. Deep listening applies not only to communication with another, but also to listening to ourselves and to life in general. The goal of deep listening is to hear beyond the words of the other person and yourself, to the essence of what the words and feelings are pointing to. Your mind and heart are joined in union — you are listening wholeheartedly.

Deep listening is synonymous with Compassionate listening as explained by Thich Nhat Hanh in this short SuperSoul Sunday video clip:

To go a step further, deep listening is normally thought of in the context of listening to another person. Another aspect of deep listening to ones-self. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to this in terms of mindful listening. It can only happen in the present moment which is the only moment where one can truly live. He says that we have an appointment with life and that appointment with life takes place in the present moment.

By request, these are my notes and the diagram I created.

© 2017 Clay Boykin

Deep Listening

Different Levels of Listening

Deep listening is often thought of as holding sacred space.


Deep Listening – Thich Nhat Hanh

The Golden Rule

“…every single one of the major world traditions has highlighted — has said — and put at the core of their tradition what’s become known as the Golden Rule. First propounded by Confucius five centuries before Christ: “Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you.” – Karen Armstrong – 2008 Ted Talk


I invite you to visit Compassionate Austin for an opportunity to connect locally with Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion.

Circles of Men by Clay Boykin is available on Amazon.