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Wandering minds want to know

nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

Over the years, the women in my life have pointed out a bad quality of mine. When they’re talking I will sometimes miss an important detail. (Interestingly no male friend or relative has mentioned this.) Fortunately, they usually forgive me (I guess I have some redeeming qualities) and life goes on. But I don’t like being inconsiderate, so I’d like to do something about it.

My fiancée had a theory about this. She thought that since I had a nagging mother, so I learned to filter out female voices. (Remember Charlie Brown’s teacher?) I was also diagnosed with ADHD when I was a child, so that may play some role in it as well.

But it seems to me that the problem is actually a lack of mindfulness. When someone is talking to me my mind will frequently be considering the implications of what they said 2 minutes ago, instead of focusing on what they’re saying right now. And to be totally honest, sometimes it’s just random garbage that pops into my head. I’m actually pretty good at reconstructing what others have said, but sometimes I slip up.

So would mindfulness meditation help correct this flaw, or do I need to look elsewhere?

[Deleted User]


  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    In my opinion, while Mindfulness training may help now, it may be useful to seek the root original cause to expose and expunge what ails you.

    In my opinion.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    my listening is not the best.hard of hearing.sometimes brain get scramble.but what helps,listen to what speaks to me.

    about mindfulness,align the brain with hearing?harder said than done,of they say,the art to listening. my mind wanders,toon out,i hear you. =)

  • ZenMathsterZenMathster Grantham, United Kingdom New
    edited July 2018

    The following are my thoughts, opinions, not facts.

    I think it's fair to say that the only generalisation that is 100% true is the generalisation that no generalisation is 100% true. Having written that, it's normal for us all to delete, distort and domainify what's being said by others in conversation, it's the way we take the huge amount of information (words, tone, etc) we hear and turn it into the information we listen to (what we hear and what we listen to can be two very different things).

    The one big thing I took away from reading John Gray's "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" is that generally (see caveat above) in conversation women are looking for empathy from men, and men think women are looking for them to solve their problems for them. And here be dragons!

    I wonder whether this is part of what's going on for you? You're not listening to what's being said as it's being said because you are thinking about what's been said 2 minutes ago and how that fits into "the problem" you (think you) are being asked to solve?

    Interestingly, if you catch yourself not listening then that is the very essence of mindfulness,... keep up the good work :)

    Have you tried Active Listening?

  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    I have experienced men wanting empathy from me while I was wondering about ordering another latte. It works both ways. I am not from venus though, if I come from any planet its probably unlisted :)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @nakazcid said:
    And to be totally honest, sometimes it’s just random garbage that pops into my head.

    Hmm I'm reminded of Sadhguru's "The mnd is society's garbage bin"

  • ZenMathsterZenMathster Grantham, United Kingdom New

    @kando, those pesky empathy seeking Venusian males,... a disgrace!

    "When ordering another latte, order another latte." - Zen proverb

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    But it seems to me that the problem is actually a lack of mindfulness.


    Focus, mindfulness, attention.
    All help.
    A student came to Master Ichu and said, “Please write for me something of great wisdom.” Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: “Attention.” The student said, “Is that all?” The master wrote, “Attention. Attention.” The student became irritable. “That doesn’t seem profound or subtle to me.” In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, “Attention. Attention. Attention.” In frustration, the student demanded, “What does this word ‘attention’ mean?” Master Ichu replied, “Attention means attention.”

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    It can, yes. Mindfulness meditation can make you more attentive to an object without losing focus as easily. You can also use the opportunity itself as a meditation, focusing on their words as your object of mindfulness, or try to use your awareness of your breath to keep you in the present and help keep your mind from wandering.

  • kandokando northern Ireland Veteran

    your fiancé probably has already nailed it, my husbands mother was and is a totally overwhelming person and it took him years to realise that a conversation is supposed to be a two way street! The tuning out had become a survival strategy :)

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    Thanks for all the input. I have just discovered that a Vipassana center has opened in my city. Might be a good opportunity.

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