January Theme

LISTEN

To listen is to lean in softly
With a willingness to be changed
By what we hear  
-Mark Nepo
Listening is a very different experience than just hearing. Hearing is the act of taking in sound, but listening means something far deeper. In order to really listen we have to be able to do so without needing anything. The moment we infuse the use of our ears with the need for approval, justification, political correctness, corroboration, etc, we have lost the ability to be present and to accept what is. How often do we find ourselves jumping to conclusions about what someone is going to say, or just making an assumption as to what we think we heard or why it was said.

When we contemplate the seasons, we see an ancient pattern underlying the natural world.  Just when the dark seems like it is taking over, the wheel turns and the light begins its slow ascent. I see faith like this. It is a trust (not based in the intellect) that there is an intelligence that is greater than the limited self that flows through all things.  I read something beautiful …it says “Faith is like the fragrance of the heart’s knowing.” (Roger Housden). And the heart’s greatest knowing is the law of connection.  The heart knows without need of proof that there is an invisible fabric woven through the entirety of the universe…that the universe is not random and that things are placed “in a special way”. We often discover or renew our faith in those darkest “nights of the soul” when most of our accustomed light sources drop away and we are challenged to the very root of our beings to persevere. It is in those moments that we throw up our hands and let go of what we think we know that the unseen rises to meet us, that a subtler and more powerful order reveals itself and guides us back to the light, a renewed and strengthened level of understanding and awareness.

It is a vulnerable place to put aside your preconceived notions about someone or something and allow space to be changed by what you hear. The fear of being misunderstood, not having the answer, rehearing the same story, not having yourself heard in return, needing to get your point across. The better we get at listening, the more we connect from the heart. When the mind is consciously put to rest by a listening presence we create a connection with whatever is speaking. Whether that’s through a conversation with another person, with ourselves, or a message from beyond. Underneath the actual words there is a song of truth being sung.
The Universe is singing a song. It is one about Love. Oneness. Compassion. Sometimes I hear talk about how some people are spiritually awake and some are asleep. This doesn’t mean that those who are “asleep” are wasting their lives and are without true purpose. If you are asleep, you still subliminally hear the song. But if you are to wake up, and acknowledge that you know the song is being played, and listen to it everywhere you go, with everything you see and do, the song gets louder and clearer. First it sounds like it’s coming in on a transistor radio, then through the ceiling in a department store, then at times a pair of really nice headphones, and if we’re lucky we might find ourselves in a seat listening to the song live in person, flesh to flesh, spirit to spirit, heart to heart, friend to friend. We can’t always hear the song all that clearly, sometimes a different one is playing louder. But the better we are at hearing it, the more practice we give ourselves at tuning it in, the more we can sing it ourselves. It is the sound of All our hearts.
Practice at home

Meditation to Listen Without Fear

This meditation works on the heart center and the head, and the interlock of fear that blocks your ability to actually listen to another person. It stimulates the stem of the brain and the old emotions to release. You can then combine your reality with the actions of the medulla and hypothalamus circuits to express yourself truly and listen to another person clearly.

Part 1

Posture: Sit in Easy Pose.

Mudra: Place your left palm flat against your chest, with the left fingers pointing toward the right, and the thumb flat against the chest and pointing up towards the chin. Place the right hand palm flat against the back of the left hand, fingers pointing towards the left, and the right thumb pointing up towards the chin.

Eyes: Look at the tip of the nose.

Mantra: Play Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo by Nirinjan Kaur. Chant with the recording. Continue for 11 – 31 minutes.

To End: Inhale very deeply and hold while pressing your hands hard against the heart chakra. Hold up to 20 seconds. Exhale. Repeat a second time, this time pressing hands against the heart and squeeze the spine. Hold up to 20 seconds. Exhale. Inhale deeply, exhale deeply, inhale deeply exhale deeply. Then inhale, press the hands hard, and squeeze the spine from the bottom to the top. Hold up to 40 seconds according to your capacity. Exhale and relax.

Part 2

Posture: Sit in Easy pose

Mudra: Arms arc up with the hands about 9 inches above the Crown Center. The fingers are interlaced and the thumb tips touch and point backwards.

Eyes: Unspecified

Breath: Heavy Breath of Fire

Time: 1 minute

To End: Inhale deeply and stretch the body for 15 seconds and relax.