No Agenda

One of the best listening experiences I’ve ever had in terms of being listened to happened during my spiritual direction training course with SoulStream.

One of the exercises we did was to listen to someone for 15 minutes without saying anything and using as little facial expression as possible. We got the opportunity to be listened to in a similar fashion. It was a wonderful experience. The person who listened to me did a great job and I felt really listened to. It may sound crazy, but it’s an amazing feeling to be really heard and this is a gift we can give to others.

Can you listen without an agenda? It’s not easy! That said, I think it’s how we all want to be listened to.

Can you tell when you are in a conversation and the other person is just dying to share something, or teeing up their next comment? They’re not really listening, are they?

And of course, if you are anything like me, you constantly do this yourself inspite of all the training to do otherwise!

Listening without an agenda is a gift that we can give to others. 

It’s an extension of our meditation. 

It’s a practice in letting go.

Having no agenda is love in action…

Kathleen and I used to do the MS Bike Ride in Mount Vernon, Washington. We rode with a wonderful group of people. On one particular ride our good friend Scott kept saying to the group “no agenda.” I think it helped to bring the group together no matter what they were feeling. I know it brought calm and peace to my competitiveness and I hope it helped the other people in our group feel comfortable if they were struggling to keep up and feeling bad about it.


1_ The next time you go somewhere say to yourself “no agenda.” Take note of your internal dialogue. What thoughts or feelings keep you from having no agenda? See if a pattern emerges. 

I think you’ll be amazed at how calming it can be to go places and do things with no agenda and your presence will be a gift to everyone you encounter. 

2_ The next time you enter conversation try to be fully present and let go of any agenda you might have. The people you listen to without an agenda might have a breakthrough and you will have hardly said a thing!

~ Rod

Inspired by Tara Brach

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