A View from Down the Street

A View from Down the Street

In fact, the voice box was not intended to be a communicative device for language. Originally all communication was telepathic, and the basic use for the voice was to communicate sound through mantras and chants. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Application – April, 2009)

I’m in the midst of a humbling experiment: listening to my breath. And, I’m learning to discern what the sound of my breath is saying. For instance, when my breath is noisy, I’m likely breathing in too much.  My experiment in proper breathing is busting several long held understandings, but that’s a story for another day (when the experiment is further along and I’ve learned much more, but if you’re curious, check out this website https://www.breathingcenter.com/).

Perhaps the experiment is what led to a stream of consciousness in my journal about listening yesterday morning. It started with a big question (another story for another day J), but quickly led to the observation that success, by the world’s standards, requires that we speak, write, ‘play bigger’, all of which seems to translate into share more, share louder, stand out above the crowd.  Much to my surprise, the stream continued like this:

“But, what about LISTENERS? What would happen in the world if everyone stopped for a moment or an hour, or a day to simply listen?”

Several questions emerged: What does it mean to listen? What/who do I/we listen to? What do I/we need to listen to? For the sake of what do I/we listen?

As my day unfolded, listening became a theme. An email ‘Sit Down and Please Stop Talking’ landed in my box. Although it was from someone I didn’t recognize, I was curious and clicked on the podcast to listen. The podcaster shared a recent incident about a well-known male workshop leader’s failure to listen to a woman in his audience who had been a victim of sexual abuse. Rather than listening with a commitment to hear, the podcast suggested that the leader was cramming her experience into his lens rather than expanding his view.

We have this habit of doing just that, at least I do. ‘If you could just see things the way I do, all life’s problems and conflicts would be handled.’ Who among us hasn’t had that thought in the midst of our relationships or looking out at the world’s chaos? I observed it listening to a webinar later in the day. As the host of ‘HEARTLAND SECURITY -- Discovering and Cultivating Our Sane and Sacred Center’ and his two guests were talking about the value of listening and engaging in deeper conversations, especially with others of differing views, participants were posting in the chat box questions that were essentially, ‘how do we get people to see things this way or that?’ I chuckled at the irony.

Listening is defined (by Webster) as “to make a conscious effort to hear; attend closely so as to hear” and “to pay close attention”.  Just now as I write this, I hear wind moving the trees and rattling windows in the house. I’m not listening to that. I’m listening, not to a vibratory, audible sound, but for what my consciousness wants to bring to my awareness and to share. Sometimes I do listen to the wind or to the silent voices of the pines in the woods. For me, they have more knowledge and wisdom to share than much of the babel labelled as ‘news’.

It seems as if we’ve forgotten that we have two ears and only one mouth, and that we use that mouth at least twice as much as we use our ears. We look for sources that support our views and share them widely.  We look for how to win, not how to live peacefully together on this beautiful planet that we share.  Perhaps it’s time I/we listen and look for other ways to inhabit this life. What could happen in the world if everyone stopped for a moment or an hour, or a day to listen – really listen?