"To listen is to lean in softly, with a willingness to be changed by what you hear."
- Mark Nepo
I recently revisited a dharma talk by one of my revered teachers about the lost art of listening. Seemed fitting, on the heels of my first-time 10-day vipassana retreat in Joshua Tree. Ten days of stillness and silence offers a unique portal to deep inner and outer listening...
Just as anything worth doing takes practice, so does listening. And you don't have to go on retreat or do anything fancy to cultivate this lost art. I liken it to being in "flow". Usually, these are states we enjoy, so much so that we lose all track of time. Consider an artist practicing their craft. As an example, a musician in flow might become the music.
Whatever might resonate for you, I invite you to try this on. As a yoga teacher, I like to use the example of the breath, or the sound of a gong. Follow the sound of the gong to the very end. With deep listening and repetition, it's possible to become the sound.
By no means does that need to become the goal. Remember, no judgement. It's simply a possibility that comes with deep presence.
Listening brings us into presence. One of the deepest expressions of love is to listen, with full presence. Afterall, how does it feel to be seen, heard and understood?
We can begin by listening inwardly, so we can listen better outwardly. This approach also encourages giving ourselves permission to engage in something seemingly
self-indulgent. It's all in the service of connection.
I offer these practices in my restorative yoga classes (Mon & Wed nights, 7:30 PM @
A2 Yoga.) Join us, and/or find ways to try this beautiful practice on. As you and all the lives you touch benefit, we'll also raise the bar for those goldfish!