What does it mean to listen deeply? How does deep listening steer us toward a truer expression of who we really are?
We have, as a culture, grown increasingly deaf to our inner selves. With frenzied minds, surface attachments, and noise levels on the rise, we are moving ever farther from tuning in to the temples of our bodies.
In response to this loss, I'd like to make a counter plea for the cultivation of deep listening as an act of dropping the brain, sinking into a subtle quiet place, and awakening receptive awareness. Dropping the brain is no small feat. Still, we must get out of our ego-driven ways to become open to the divine messages within us. The irony here is that we so often reel from the pain of not having been heard in our lives, yet we do such lousy jobs of hearing our innate wisdom. I do, however, believe that when quiet, we instinctively trust in the guidance of sacred voices far more profound than what our bullying heads would have us heed.
It has taken me many painful, searching years to fully appreciate deep listening as the nexus or tie to witnessing what is really going on inside, and to tapping the intuitive broadcasts from the subterranean. Deep listening often requires silence and stillness, or movement imbued with such mindful grace that it holds stillness within itself.
Hence, sitting and yoga practice are for me the two venues that enable dropping in, and from this drop, the glowing connection with the rhythmic heart and cavernous belly. For you, it may be something entirely different. What's important is to identify and put into play the practices that sink you in to your receptive self and that allow for deep listening to occur.
Some call the gift of awakened hearing intuition. I call it translating the language of spirit. Regardless of names, deep listening cultivates our attention to the present moment and teaches us to open to the vastness of our inner lives and also to the clamor of the outer world. This presence in essence yields compassion; and compassion, as any aspirant to saving the suffering can attest, is the answer. I am reminded of this daily by the serene face of the large Buddha on the altar at which I sit, his long, wise, curvaceous ears at once loving and open to the woes of the world.
Imagine our own trained energetic ears ballooning and stretching to hear the cries of the beleaguered children dying of starvation in Somalia, and all the other cries for help from around the globe, including our own. Imagine our skillful listening springing us collectively into conscious action. Isn't this subtle dialogue between the inside and outside really what living is all about?
It all hinges on listening, deep tranquil listening.
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