in the pauses
space for infinity
listening with compassion
and calm curiosity
what life shares
As I was hiking through the Berkshires on Christmas day, I was awed at the beautiful majestic trees, the light dusting of glistening snow, waterfalls, babbling brooks, and rays of sunshine streaming onto my face.
I was so awed by the beauty I was surrounded by that I became very curious about everything around me. I noticed my ability to get quiet, really quiet. So quiet that my mind chatter stopped and I could hear and feel the earth, trees and water sharing themselves with me. I could feel myself taking in prana – refilling my energetic well. I was truly receiving through my open, soft and compassionate curiosity.
In those moments, I made a few realizations.
The first realization is that when my mind is thinking, I am not listening. Not even close. My sense of hearing might be active, yet I am not consciously registering the data coming in. Thank goodness for meditation! Through this practice I am able to open to, connect with, experience and slow down the chatter in my body, energy, emotions, and thoughts so I can hear.
In order to hear, I need to listen. Not have my mouth closed (so I am quiet on the outside) while formulating responses, creating pros and cons lists, and mulling over the meaning of life (see paragraph above). Learn to really listen. Listening is a skill I have been working on a lot over the past year. I realize that it easier for me to talk than to listen, and cultivating my ability to listen brings more balance to my life.
I also realized that what I seek to cultivate is not just any kind of listening, it’s a specific kind of listening. It’s a form of witnessing. Not a detached voyeurism. I want to listen compassionately, allowing myself to feel what I am hearing. To listen with curiosity, which connects me with the experience and allows me to receive the person I am sharing with. I want to actively listen as a form of engaging with my world and life. I seek to listen as a way of opening myself to the world around me – consciously, compassionately, and sincerely.
There are a few ways in which we can listen this way. In order to learn to listen more compassionately to the world, I practice by listening to my body, energy and emotions through the sensations I feel.
I also find being in nature a wonderful gift in listening. It is a place where I rarely feel bombarded as a listener (unlike shopping malls). Nature shares its subtle qualities with anyone who is listening, yet how often to we really listen? I also find listening in nature creates a calm grounded ease in my being, in which I feel safe to open myself up to hear with my entire body-mind (not only my ears).
I use the techniques and practices of yoga to become a more skillful human being, to shine more light into our world, to deepen my connections and relationships. I believe that being a more present, compassionate and active listener will deepen all my yoga practices.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, healthy, connected and blessing filled 2012! Enjoy the New Year – fill it with your infinite potential!
Om Shantih and Prema (universal peace & love),
Mona L. Warner, ERYT500
Janati Yoga, RYS500