At a meeting last night, I’m glad I had a cold and didn’t feel up to participating in the discussion, because by shutting up and listening, I understood how much wisdom existed in these people sitting around me. Normally, I jump headfirst into a discussion, throwing out ideas almost like punches. To me, group conversations often seem like organized melees, with me right in the middle, throwing my mental and verbal weight around with little restraint. In a typical discussion, I truly don’t think I very often genuinely listen to anyone else, since I’m too busy listening to my own noisy mind. Last night was different. Because I knew I wasn’t going to talk at the meeting, I settled into a complete listening mode, as if the doors of my mental house were wide open, maybe for the first time ever at a meeting. The ideas shared by the people at the meeting entered my mind with great effortlessness, maybe because they felt a welcoming attitude. Instead of reacting to the ideas, I simply accepted them. Instead of glancing quickly and dismissing them, I just opened the door and let the ideas in. What it showed me, as the meeting progressed, was how wise all these people were – how really full of sensible and insightful ideas they were. I sat there in an actual state of amazement. If there was this much wisdom in this meeting, how much have I missed in all the other meetings by continually talking rather than really listening? By not shutting up and seriously paying attention, how much knowledge did I leave waiting outside my life?