Listening – not another task


It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
Oliver Wendell Homes, Sr.
Listening isn’t another thing to do, another task or activity that you have to add to your list of chores or self-growth to do list. It’s actually a way of being, something that comes naturally. What has happened in modern times is that we have been coaxed out of this natural way of being, a way of being able to listen to ourSelves and be tuned in to our intuition. Over time the inundation of media, the methods used by the education system, and the diminished support of familial and community relationships, has led us to listen outside of ourSelves for the clues and cues for how we choose to respond to ourSelves and our environment.

Listening is an underused action-oriented discipline. The best way to re-cultivate this natural, instinctual process is to take the time to do it rather than rushing ahead with action or thinking. During your day, stop every so often, even just for a few moments and focus on yourself, your body, your mind, and your spirit. Check in with them and ask how they are doing. They will tell you if you take the time to listen. Also, and the greatest marvel of all, they will never lie to you. They have no reason to since we are wired to not self-harm, but rather to pleasure.Listening is a hidden treasure in finding life’s meaning for you and your unique contribution to building a better world. It is necessary to develop an integrated relationship between your mind, your body, and your spirit. Self-Communication is an essential skill for developing and maintaining the integrity of your inner self. It is also primary to developing and maintaining your integrity with the outer world.Learning to listen to your inner voice can give new direction to opportunities, circumstances and decisions.

Listening is a vital part of effective communication and relationship. The relationship we have with ourSelves is the most important relationship we have. If we are not in direct and effective communication with ourSelves how can we be in good relationship with others and the world we inhabit?

Listening has a therapeutic effect. It is a doorway to self-awareness. Genuine listening opens the door to self-awareness: awareness of our own feelings, thoughts and motives. In effect we are also listening and sensitive to our own inner states. This in itself is a very important path to discovery. It is the gateway to clarifying our own values, dealing with our own inner conflicts, and discovery our own intuition and spirituality.

It is important to become a supportive rather than an interferent participant in these communicative interactions between you and all of your parts. Being harsh, critical, and judgmental closes down all communication within yourSelf just as they close down communication between people. If you can not be a patient and careful listener to yourSelf, you will not only miss what your body is saying, but you will not hear what the people you love are trying to tell you.

Self-Communication is only as valuable as the way in which you use it. It is not a tool meant to enable you to police and/or intrude upon your own natural physiological processes. Instead, it is a skill which facilitates the knowing of yourself, simply because you are worth knowing. We all have something to contribute to our world and the best way to discovering that is to listen to ourSelves in a loving and compassionate way. When we do this our life becomes easier, more productive, more meaningful, and more enjoyable.

I have learned that the head does not hear anything until the heart has listened. And what the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow.
– James Stevens
Permission to reprint by:Peace Center Theosophical Society

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