Yogi Bhajan often spoke of the importance of sunni-ai, which translates as hearing or listening. Its importance and connotation suggest, “deep listening.” It means hearing the sounds, the words, the subtlety – all that is below the surface – at the same time. Sunni-ai is intuition applied to listening.
We practice it when we are still. We practice it as we speak. Sunni-ai is an act of applied consciousness and alertness. Most of the time we underestimate the importance of deep listening. Each word we speak creates our world. Each word we hear informs and connects us to our world. With deep listening, we can be one step ahead of the moment.
Deep listening, like a radar, senses the shape and the momentum of the present moment. When we are listened to, we respect the person who listens. When we listen carefully, we can read the intention and the conflicts in the speaker. Listening includes attention to all the senses. We “hear” the nonverbal messages and “feel” the context of the communication.
“Listening is very weak in humans. Whatever little degree of intuition we have. We don’t listen. Whatever consciousness our soul tells us, that’s too little, very feeble. We don’t relate to it.
Normally, when two people talk, you get most of the essence of the talk through the cues, rather than the words. An ordinary human being with a normal life only listens to six percent of a total conversation.
You take certain important cues, certain things that either concerns you mentally or emotionally. You only become alert and connect at those times. You are not worried about the whole conversation. You get messages like a jumping frog. This is normal.
Fifty percent of the time, you only pretend you are hearing or listening. Are you aware of that? Your expression, real expression, what you want to say is always ten percent of the total conversation that you started out to project to the other person. You use a lot of words as a preface, like 'I want to talk to you.' These are common phrases which you use and which you do not listen to. You don’t care. You develop the habit to not listen.
Actually, today I want to tell you one of the greatest secrets: man is born as an animal to listen. This is one secret which, if you will never learn, you will never have the essence of life. It is man’s basic quality: a being who listens.
When some of you stop listening, you don’t want to listen. That is the time when you make the greatest mistake of your life because your constitution, your construction, your building, your faculty, your power is in listening.”
Yogi Bhajan, Excerpt from Level 2 Conscious Communication Manual
From The Aquarian Teacher: Conscious Communication. KRI International Teacher Training in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Level 2 Transformation Practitioner. Kundalini Research Institute. 2006.