At the heart of great customer service is the act of deep listening. This is a learned spiritual practice and this is what this article explores.
When does customer service equate good down home hospitality?
The answer to this question is: all the time without exception.
Baby Boomers know something about hospitality, because we were raised pre-computer, pre e-mail, pre-cell phone technologies which allowed more time to write or type (on a typewriter) letters, routinely invited people to our homes for dinner, or tea, or cocktails.
Many of us are now in recovery (or should be), so alcohol is out of the question (or should be).
But now-a-days, time has accelerated and it feels like we blink and three months have passed us by.
Last week, I participated in a four hour customer service presentation where six of us sang, danced, showed inspirational films, and had a discussion about customer service and hospitality.
We discussed concepts surrounding the art of listening, making patients and their families feel comfortable by bringing them chairs, drinks, warm blankets and pillows as well as words of encouragement.
But we can’t take care of other people until we create a caring climate of love and appreciation for ourselves.
We do this by learning to slow down, turning off the TV, computer and cell phone, go on news fasts, tune into nature, green grass, moving waters, still rocks.
We learn to take deep breaths, exercise, allowing each step to be a testament to a robust life.
Listening is at the heart of good customer service. As we seek and find a balance in our lives, we know when it is necessary to withdraw from the hustle, bustle of the world, and turn to inward silence. There we listen to higher guidance, angelic intervention, and hear our own pulse which really is the life force which runs through all living beings.
Nurses are professional caregivers, but we are not taught how to create our care giving activities into a deeply spiritual practice. Our customer service presentation touched on this concept, but only in passing.
The lowest common denominator of caregiving is quite simply, the art and gift of giving attention.
This can be practiced anytime and anywhere with focus and mindfulness (living in the present moment).
In this way, caregiving can be viewed as our spiritual path.
As we engage in selfless caring for others, we notice that as self-centeredness creeps in, the state of mind we all normally operate in, eg the need to fix, or think about going home at shift’s end, or what we plan to do on our time off, does not lead to beneficial results.
Our patients know when we are not with them in mind, 100%. They know when we are not resonating with them.
When self-centeredness is allowed to operate in our caregiving activities, the more burn-out is the reality.
When we serve from a place within based on true compassion and love, your cup will runneth over. The energy of attention will beget more from the wellspring of eternal spirit.
The switch from self-centered to other-centeredness is the cause of greater happiness for all involved.
We calm a crying baby by cradling, rocking and speaking in soothing tones to her.
We alleviate pain in another human by laying on of hands.
As we learn to turn attention towards bringing harmony and calm to our patients, you may notice that all you have to do is show up to the unit and the gentle touch of angel wings does the rest.
People will ask, “What did you do?”
This is in direct opposition to saying proudly, “I have a dark cloud over me,” or “When I show up, all hell breaks loose.”
You manifest what you concentrate on.
This is Universal Law.
The art of caregiving and particularly listening is not a passive process.
As we practice the art of listening deeply, we learn to recognize that compassion arises naturally when we see clearly that all of us suffer because we usually operate out of the uncontrolled cycle of ordinary existence.
The gift of our attention is an expression of that compassion. We enter a state of communion with another human being which is diametrically opposed from normal, mindless, ordinary ways of listening.
The gift of attention allows us to listen with our hearts, in addition to our ears. We can think of this practice as listening with the third ear, which is, of course, the heart. Adding the third eye or sixth chakra to the mix allows multi-levels of intuition to reveal what a person is really saying. Yet allowing these insights to flow through and move on is a necessary part of this practice.
And we continue to turn our attention to the the One who is talking.
Practicing the gift of attention offers the perfect mirror for our self-centered tendencies. As we engage in deep listening, the need to fix or offer opinion is recognized in stark contrast to the mindful presence arising from the practice. Thus, these moments of ego are allowed to pass without resistance.
I have used the following practice which can be added to your practice of attention.
This ancient practice is called. “Taking and giving,” a Tibetan Ritual.
Simply keep your attention on the person you are listening to.
“Take” first, imagining you are freeing the other person from suffering. With each in-breath, you inwardly see your compassion growing, like a glowing ember which when blowed upon, increases its fire and warmth.
You can simultaneously think, “May you be free of suffering.”
We take the person’s negativity and suffering from them with each in breath, and into us in the form of (imagined) thick black smoke. We imagine that as we take this negativity, our own self-centeredness is destroyed.
With the out breath, we imagine our love growing, again like the glowing ember that when blown upon increases in heat and intensity, and think, “May you be happy. May you find inner peace.”
Our love and deep wish that all other beings experience true lasting happiness and joy is sent out in the form of a radient white light that purifies and baths all sentient beings everywhere.
We imagine they have everything they could possibly need and muchComputer Technology Articles, much more.
These practices help us to be true caregivers not only to others but also to ourselves.
May we learn to practice with an open heart.