Thursday, August 19, 2010
Listening. Really Listening.
I sat in silence today....at least I thought it was silence until I listened. I didn't have to try hard, after all, I was sitting outside my cabin at the Grand Canyon of the east, Letchworth State Park. I woke early, made a cup of coffee and wanted to just "be". I really desired a bit of quiet peace, far from the daily grind of everyday urban living. My cabin is rustic. The way I like it. No running water or heat but it does have electricity, a stove and a fridge. The coffee was piping hot and I sat in my camping chair next to the fire pit I used the night before. I looked around me in the beautiful, early morning. Everything was so green and alive! I soaked it all in and paused to breathe....appreciate my little respite far away from my home. Then it happened! It occurred to me that it wasn't silent. It was peaceful but not quiet like I thought it would be.
You see, I thought it would be silent, I assumed it was naturally quiet because of where I was. I could not be farther from the truth! We are conditioned from an early age to expect....expect happiness from a given situation...expect that if you work hard you will be rewarded the way you think you should be. Expect that children, dogs, people at the shopping mall, toll takers....everyone will do what you want them to do. We do that with situations. Especially with communication. I expected complete quiet outside my feeble little cabin in the woods. Instead I heard a symphony of blessed sound. Insects buzzing dizzily around my head, birds chirp chirping through the thick blanket of leaves overhead. And sounds that I could not possibly tell you where they came from. Then it occurred to me...how often do I REALLY listen? If you focus your mind, your ears, your soul on the soundscape around you, you will find and hear things like never before. You actually learn, feel, HEAR!
Listening takes on all forms. Depending on your situation. A conversation with a friend, your cat meowing, a co-worker coming to you with a problem, your fish tank, sitting outside a cabin with coffee. Truly listening when someone speaks to you honors them. It gives them you. If someone takes the time to speak with you they actually WANT you to listen to them. How often do we really do that. Listening takes focus, work even. You'll find it easier to do once you get into the swing of directing your mind to your ears in whatever space you're in. As I listened to the panoply of sound all around me it filled my heart, my soul with joy! I realized, as I truly heard all around me, I was the sound! We became one! When the meditation bell sounds just before sitting feel it! Hear it! Know you are not just listening to the sound of a bell signifying the start of meditation, you are the bell!
Truly listening, hearing, connects us with the world the way we were meant to be connected. Real listening lifts you up, educates, entertains, communicates and fills your body, your mind, your heart with a healthy econo-sized dose of Spirit.
Here's a little exercise: find a a task, a chore, a time that you do something that you have done a million times in your life; sitting, walking the dog, making copies at work...whatever, feel your breath move past your nostrils into your lungs, feel the belly swell and move back and forth and then LISTEN. Let your ears be like a satellite dish. You will experience life like you never have before. By listening to all around you life takes on new meaning. You will be alive. You will be happy knowing that you are an important part of this time and space. You will see that being connected to all living things is the natural flow of the Universe. WE ARE THE UNIVERSE! All things, animals, plants, minerals, have life running through them. Hearing them, listening to them reveals the truth within the soundscape, that we are all family. Peace is achieved knowing we are related...after all, if we listen, hear all around us and realize the true connection, it is easy to love our relatives....and we are all relatives.