I was introduced to a form of listening deeply by Eckhard Tolle during his New Earth webinars. One of the lessons entailed listening deeply to others without thinking of a response, just listening. I tried the technique during a small business meeting and was amazed.
Listening deeply was an eye opener. I was initially afraid I wouldn’t have anything to say in conversational response, but that has never really proven to be a problem. I realized the truth of the speaker. I saw their beauty, their suffering, their character, their ego and sometimes a glimpse of their souls. It helped me become more compassionate, even when I see that they are not telling the truth or are coming from fear and distrust. Rarely do I feel threatened by others as was once the case.
Years later, durning yoga teacher training, one of the instructors suggested a deeper listening exercise or practice, actually. This type of listening entails noticing the sounds around you and identifying each one. A car…the clock…a bird…the bird alarm clock…I have done this for some time now and I have not only noticed the sounds, but the vibrations and how they penetrate the body, how the high squeal of the garbage truck’s brakes sound at the top of the skull, how the rumble of thunder seems to deeply penetrate the whole body and how the may air conditioners humming in the neighborhood cause a continuous vibration in the body that we don’t notice unless we pay close attention.
Listening deeply has increased my awareness of myself and others. It allows me to hear others more clearly and reduce misunderstanding. It allows me to “see” more clearly and directs me to act more effectively. But most importantly, I have begun to see the places in myself where I am not listening, engaging in wishful thinking or totally misinterpreting a situation. The waters are less muddy now, the truth is easier to see and I am able to avoid a whole layer of suffering that once played a prime role in my life.
“If you trust what you hear wen you listen, then you will know what you see, and how to understand and act.” Japji Sahib Song of the Soul composed by Guru Nanak, Translated by Ek Ong Karr Kaur Khalsa