"The Art of Listening" from 'Power of Now' (and Commentary)
---Listening Under Summer Skies by Jacqueline Lovesey
When listening to another person, don't just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Feel the energy field of your inner body as you listen. That takes attention away from thinking and creates a still space that enables you to truly listen without the mind interfering. You are giving the other person space — space to be. It is the most precious gift you can give. Most people don't know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking. They pay more attention to that than to what the other person is saying, and none at all to what really matters: the Being of the other person underneath the words and the mind. Of course, you cannot feel someone else's Being except through your own. This is the beginning of the realization of oneness, which is love. At the deepest level of Being, you are one with all that is. Most human relationships consist mainly of minds interacting with each other, not of human beings communicating, being in communion. No relationship can thrive in that way, and that is why there is so much conflict in relationships. When the mind is running your life, conflict, strife and problems are inevitable. Being in touch with your inner body creates a clear space of no-mind within which the relationship can flower.
Personal vanity and the hypnotic state set by the illusory self may be our biggest enemies to genuinely hear and connect with others. It’s as if there’s a constant “low frequency hum,” like dampened power lines on a cold wet Spring morning, buzzing and distracting us even when we are seemingly lucid, in control of our actions and wits . With such a deafening distraction it is near impossible to listen to anyone, let alone the "still small voice within.” In this chaotic state [‘monkey mind’], self-obsessing thoughts paralyze any form of real interaction with others. And to finalize our self induced madness, we calculably pass judgement on others — sometimes even the dearest of friends! Our minds, now crystalized like industrial strength adhesive, simply will not budge from this lifeless quandary! It's as if we're operating in a sensory disabled static — that disconnects us from the universe, our connectivity with others, and our own inner-stillness.
So if we fail to know how to listen, or consciously choose not to, then what in fact are we doing? As Tolle points out, "most people don't know how to listen because the major part of their existence is taken up by thinking." So… a preoccupation with our mental selves? A inner-blindness to others that separates us from their and our Being? The obvious answer to both questions is “yes.” The real tragedy emanating from this disconnection is our utter failure to engage, to care, to show compassion, and to love. Herein lies the crux of not just our individual mania, but also the dysfunction that grips our world. It is time to put aside prideful fear, self-righteous attitudes and all mental controls and simply listen; to humble ourselves and warmly allow others hearts to speak and touch our own. In such a energized place life is lived.
If your mind habitually wanders and you’d like to consider or explore new dimensions of thought or non-thought, here’s a YouTube video that may be helpful:
“Mindfulness" by Jon Kabat-Zinn