The FIne Art of Listening
Are you a good listener?
If I was super honest with you, really, really honest, I'm afraid I would have to admit,(embarassed as I am by this) that I have become a rather poor listener. Often times, impatient with the world and others, straining to get words in edgewise, planning what to say—distracted by bings, phone beeps, hums, boiling kettle whistles, agendas, time frames, traffic, radio news, the sounds of rushing....
It's not easy to do anymore, it seems. The true art of really listening.
How did we get here? Now don't fret, I don't mean to be including you with the 'we', not specifically anyway, as perhaps you are a rare exquisite listener. And I commend you if you are. It is both a gift and a choice.
There is of course, the sheer miraculousness of hearing to begin with, the miracle of our ears, odd as they appear, and rarely shed attention. WE don't tend to identify them as our best feature and yet...perhaps, they just might be. We likely appreciate our ears, or at least our hearing, when we are speaking with a deaf person whose words are marbled, muffled, fading at the edges like an impressionist painting of words in dim light, blurring into the next one. Or when we have a screaming ear infection—the pain, the amplified beating of our heart through our own ear drum-red with rage-
A deep breath of automatic gratitude will catch us off guard when we are reminded how easy it is to hear, when one is gifted this sense in good health. Hearing sounds is one thing.
Listening is another altogether. An Art. No Question.
Imagine joyful sounds. Top ten. What are yours? Mine would have to include the timeless calming effect of a cat's purr, as well as:
6. the ''KKKasshish-” of a tab opening on a cold beverage can, (the ability to make one thirsty for miles)
7. any Aria sung well
8. a somewhat comical chorus of frogs on an evening walk
9. laughter in any language, especially, most especially, a young child's unaffected, infectious, gleeful giggle and ten. ..
Listening is an art. Literal comprehension not always required, as any traveller in a foreign land knows; hand gestures, international signs, human facial expressions—the things we listen for instinctively. Listening implies being non-judgemental. Non defensive. This—when the stakes are high and the wounds deep—is one of our biggest challenges. We often turn away in protection; versions of self preservation well rationalized. Albeit the result is alienating, sometimes punishing—the cool shadow of withdrawal. NO one benefits when we stop listening.
Disconnection is the result. Especially from ourselves and our deeper heart.
Why do we fear listening, what is it we think we will hear? Perhaps the unbearable truth.
I WONDER....What would it be like if this noisy world was silenced for a day. IF the world was silenced for a day; no gunfire, sirens, beeping, car horns, screaming, yelling, ALARMS, radio announcers, sound bites, sTatiC, jack hammers, heating systems, dogs barking, steaming mad espresso machines, no sound emitted when we sob, rage or laugh.
What would you feel?--If you could silence all?
What would you miss?
Would your own voice intensify? Or would it slow down, find it's softness against the new found quiet, land gently upon a resting place. Astonished. Still.
Imagine the sheer s-p-a-c-i-o-u-s-n-e-s-s.
I breathe deeper simply imagining this and the room to run—the noise ceasing—the energy I would have freed up by not having to digest and discern a thousand bombarding signals of data an hour--
What if we could give ourselves this luxury for mere minutes a day? A soul nap.
A tea break for the psyche.
The act of Emptying our crowded selves.
Tension simply draining away after the discordant party blaring in our heads, stumbles home like errant rowdy neighbors, finally quiet.
But –even though silence can be sublime, I would eventually miss the resonance of a teacup gently clicking it's contact point with the saucer—the reassuring sound of hot tea pouring into the cup. These are comforting sounds. Like your lover saying your name. The sound of anticipation itself. The fullness of this life to your own personal soundtrack.
Watching Evelyn Glennie perform on stage, is a humbling marvel. She is a World class solo percussionist—simply astonishing the audience with her virtuosity, in large part 'listening' through her barefeet to vibrations. You see, not only is she a major talent, but she is also deaf. AND, she wins 'the listening as an art form' badge. What an inspiration to behold.
Hers is a brilliant lesson in listening.
We too can listen if only we can allow ourselves to get out of the way of our inner noise. Past our ego, our latent wounds hiding in ambush. If we can avoid following the shiny magnetic distractions of the noisy world.
Listening instead to our hearts. Our longing. Our dreams. Our harebrained creative urgings.
Listening to the vibrations of our own being, It then also becomes infinitely easier to listen to our loved ones and to hear their song. Listening heart to heart is the most important thing we will ever do here.
Resonance with our truest vibration is a deeply beautiful thing.
"Hearing is a form of touch. You feel it through your body, and sometimes it almost hits your face.'"
[NOTE TO THE READER: I want to personally thank any and all for ''listening'' to this blog and other posts. I can't reply to those who have posted directly due to the format, but please know I appreciate your input and comments and the offering of your time and attention. I am genuinely grateful for your participation and encouragement, and welcome any vibrations you have to share on your favourite sounds...!!!]