Surin, Thailand – Oddor Mecheay, Cambodia- July 12-28, 2011, over 40 young people 29 participants and 18 Regional Strategy Team Staff (RST) from six countries in Mekong Region: Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China came to journey together from Thailand to Cambodia in order to share and learn the cultural diversity to bring mutual understanding and respect as well as to build trust among ASEAN youth. The Journey was also to study and analyze the root causes of border disputed between Thailand and Cambodia by meeting with governmental sectors and hear the voices of the villages of both countries that were impacted by the conflict. We shared a common dream and hope that everyone as ASEAN youth wanted to see in this Region where we belong. Our dream and hope are “Living together peacefully and equally”. As one of the participants from Laos, I would like to share the lesson which it reflected my behavior very well as well as people in today society. It was about “Deep Listening”.
The first four days of the journey in Surin of Thailand, we had our lovely sister Aouyporn Keuankeaw, who has worked on human rights for years in Thailand, as our resource person. She guided us to learn Deep Listening. Deep Listening is the way to listen without judgment right or wrong but listen attentively to what the speaker is talking about and focus on only content and the feeling of the speaker that being unsaid and the most importance of good listener is listener has to be at that very moment with the speaker. She said that people in today society hardly listen other people with open-minded and respect. People normally have a tendency to ask, interrupt the speaker. Because of that, speaker is not being given freedom to express. When listening deeply to others we would know their feeling of sharing, happiness or pain and we would even hear the feeling of the unsaid. It could lead to love and understanding. She still added that the importance of deep listening is we get to know our friends in the way they want us to know them. It means the listener could respect the speaker’s rights at the same time.
Before I listened to people I liked to judges good or bad, searched for questions to ask to show I was smarter than others and even worse I was not here and now with the speaker. So there’s no space in my head for what the speaker shared.
I even stereotyped the words of my parents as I thought I knew everything that they would say before they opened their lips.
After the Peace Journey, I volunteered to work with a local group of volunteer to build two classrooms building for children at Donsangphai Village, Pak Ngaum District Vientiane Capital Lao PDR. While I was volunteering there I took the time to listen more than speaking and I would share only essential information otherwise not at all. For only ten days, I found that transformation in listening took place in me. I could calm down myself not to speak, ask, and interrupt the speaker. It was hard at first but whenever I wanted to speak I came back to my breath, breath in-out slowly it helped a lot. Until now, I still keep practicing deep listening more than speaking and it helps me to understand and care people more. Hopefully, my sharing could inspire someone to dare to let transformation in listening take place in you or speak only beneficial information in order to create more love and understanding in our society.
Finally, I would like to thank you Aouyporn Keuankeaw and my journey mates who lived and journeyed together for 18 days. I hope this good merit contributes to our society to be better place to live for everyone.