This is a core distinction of The Forum, a hint that works together with other distinctions (e.g., mood and concern) to relocate participants' understanding of the source of meaning in their lives. It asks participants to consider that the way they hear (and see) events and people in their lives is a function of their listening, rather than being sourced by the people and events themselves. It would be possible, of course, to engage in a similar conversation using a more familiar psychological model. Such a conversation would assert that one's perceptions are shaped by one's attitudes. This way of framing things would be immediately accessible to anyone whose understanding has been shaped by the Cartesian paradigm of an "internal" subject in an objectively meaningful world.
But locating the source of meaning in one's listening rather than in one's mind situates the process in the world rather than "in the heads" of participants. This furthers the development of the Heideggerian model of human being as Being-in-the-world. Participants in Werner Erhard's work are frequently coached to "stay out of your head," and to "get present." In Erhard's vocabulary, "in your head" is equivalent to "in the past." This is where the nature of one's already always listening is determined: one makes decisions about people based on past events ("he's untrustworthy," "she's controlling," "they never listen to me"), and these decisions shape the way life occurs in the future. Erhard has used the analogy of yellow sunglasses, worn for an extended period of time: eventually, you forget that the sunglasses
Speaking Being - page 75
Everything we already know to be true makes up our permanent state of Already Always Listening. We think we are open-minded but we listen to people through a wall of our opinions instead of being present to what they are saying. This manifests as an internal little voice that keeps talking in our heads even when it’s the other person’s turn to talk and our turn to listen. It keeps forming judgements.
Overtime, we start listening on autopilot and no longer realize we are doing this.