“There's a lot of difference between listening and hearing.”
― G. K. Chesterton
I feel better today; I can't say I've licked this virus but I feel about 90% myself and, thankfully, I'm able to drink coffee ☕ again!
This morning I'm off to see my father-in-law, Brian. His health is deteriorating fast; I'm going to spend as much time as I can with him. Right now, I don't feel sad — I know, that sounds awful, but I'm being truthful — but, instead, I'm flooded with memories of all the joyful things we've done together or as a family, with Brian always the centre of attention — and I mean that in a kind, loving and humorous way.
What about listening?
Truth is, I feel the subject, despite being done to death, isn't understood.
There. Said it!
All of us.
Listen to what?
No, not just other people (drop your Covey-speak just for now) but everything.
Everything that's going on in your life — all body, mind and soul.
Is that even possible?
I think so.
But it sounds daft, doesn't it?
listen to your heart — not just its beating but what it's saying to you.
listen to your eyes — what showing you?
listen to your taste — why is food, now, a commodity and not an inspiration for the soul?
listen to your emotions — forget the inner critic and ask yourself what all your bodily sensations are saying to you.
Do you get the idea?
I know, I'm stretching things but listening, really listening, means to awaken to life — all if it.
In my case, if only I'd listened to my deep sense of despair in working in a toxic and soul-crushing environment (private practice), perhaps I wouldn't haven't endured a lifetime of angst in not marrying sole with role — see the work of Parker J. Palmer. Ditto, the urge to create. Instead, I listened to my parents, teachers and friends who told me that finding a job — any job — was better than being...what? I can't remember, but presumably something outwith society. In hindsight, I wish I'd closed my ears to all of it and just created as if, as now feels the case, my life depended on it.
The past is done. Over. Finished. No regrets.
I'm here. That's enough.
My current relationship to listening?
I listen like I've never done so before, but, in order to do so, I know, or rather I'm expressed to know, that I've got to let go of everything — all perceptions, expectations and egoic fantasies — and freefall into whatever I'm doing, seeing or experiencing.
In that space, I always feel calm, at peace and one with everything that's arising. It's not contrived. I'm open to whatever happens. And I mean that. If I'm (apparently) wounded then so be it. To me, it's all part of the encounter with listening at the deepest, most profound level.
What's your relationship to listening?
Is it something you're expressed to improve, develop or do you think you've got it nailed?
Anyhow, have a wonderful day. Do let me know if these slightly altered posts — in style at least — work for you or you're happy with the old style.
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