True listening is essential to be happy and at peace. I believe hearing is the first physical sense we develop in the womb, although in a primal form (with no sense of separation), when we “hear” our mother’s heart beat. Then, once we’re born, our mother’s voice makes us feel safe and nurtured, even as our other senses begin to develop. But once the ego is formed, turning the external world more distinct and individualized, we tend to forget how to listen to the heartbeat of our own life.
In school you learned many subjects and activities to develop mentally and physically. At home you learned cultural values and acceptable behaviors and dynamics, both conscious and unconscious. Through your experiences in the world, you’ve learned to master certain skills, roles, and interactions with others, as well as how to accomplish your goals and many other useful things to navigate life.
That’s because you’ve been listening, but mostly in the sense of absorbing information, like a mental sponge, and then trying to actualize (or regurgitate) what you’ve learned. But have you been really listening? You cannot feel heard until you start listening to your inner voice and you cannot listen to others when you’re just trying to be heard. This balance is essential for good communication. For healthy relationships. For fulfilling work. For emotional and spiritual growth.
Your listening has been partial or incomplete, because the ego-mind invariably gets in the way to prevent you from being truly present in what you do. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that most people have an automatic mechanism that allows them to hear only what they want to hear—that is, what doesn’t threaten their ingrained beliefs or attachments (see Without Self-Awareness All You Can See Is Ego).
Basically, you have learned to be a passive receptacle, taking in whatever people say or believe, or acting like a sound board, and then simply reacting to what you hear—either trying to prove something or seeking some type of validation. But this passive mode excludes you from a deeper connection and energy exchange, because you may be there, but not really present and centered.
You cannot be truly receptive and discerning if your mind is restless. But when you listen intentionally, with full presence, you hold space not only for another person, but for Divine Consciousness to flow through and for you, thus bringing more awareness, empathy, and love to your own experience. In turn, this effects a transformation that benefits everyone involved in that exchange.
It becomes a healing experience if you’re expressing yourself and making room for the other person to do the same. When you’re able to do it from a centered, detached place, you’re also fulfilling the inherent drive of your soul while shifting karmic, painful dynamics in the process. But you must be mindful and self-aware to redirect the ego-mind inwards, to be anchored in the present (see How To Live Your Life With Presence).
Truly Listening Demands Self-Awareness
Here are some guidelines to help you gradually master the art of listening for your own development and better interactions with the world:
Listen to your inner voice. Bring your awareness to your heart, to tune into your feelings and sensations in any given situation, by asking, “How do I feel about this, and why?” Be completely honest, trust whatever comes, and follow what rings true to you without seeking validation, imposing your insight on others, or being impulsive about it; this just means the ego-mind is trying to hijack your self-awareness. This is not a mental process, but the quiet, intuitive connection to yourself that will lead you where you’re meant to go. Let things change on their own, and remain observant, anchored in your heart.
Listen to your body. The body is the vehicle of the mind. Pay attention to it and what it expresses about you—what the ego-mind may be trying to obstruct from your awareness: unresolved emotions that become aches, pains, ailments, or disruptions in the functioning of your systems and organs. Listen to its symbolic language to uncover what may be hidden, as if it were a young child trying to tell you how she feels without words. Then do what you feel guided to do to support and take good care of it, so it can do the same for you as well.
Listen to your life-movie. Your life is an individualized projection of past impressions, memories, and karma hidden in the causal body of your soul. If you pay attention, you can understand the messages behind any situation, particularly if it’s unpleasant. Ask, “Why is this in my movie?” “What is it showing me about me?” It’s usually the roles you’re supposed to take and the responses others expect of you, triggered by your wounded needs: the need to be right, useful, “good,” responsible, and so on. If you actively listen to these messages, your life becomes a journey of self-discovery rather than a series of experiences focused on other people. (I’ll explore this in great detail in my upcoming book, so stay tuned!)
Listen to those with whom you interact. Stay fully present when engaging with other people, to really understand what they’re trying to express, even if they’re being difficult or irrational, but without losing self-awareness. Avoid getting stuck in your ideas or expectations, by stepping back and opening up to a broader perception of the situation. If you get triggered, try to find the fear or attachment behind your reactions so you can let them go and be present. Also, listen to the whole person, not just the words, and above all, be curious; ask for clarification or rephrase what the other person is saying, to make sure you understand what that is without assuming that you know.
Your presence and openness creates an empty space for Consciousness to flow, bringing light and love, which often translates as listening to each other. If the other person is too stuck in their wounded child archetype (in temper tantrum, rebelliousness, or victim mode), step back and be quiet; sometimes that’s all you need to do for them to find clarity and stop trying to prove anything or vent their frustration or fear. You must be detached and willing to listen to your life-movie.
Listen to the silence. Silence is the language of Divine Consciousness. Speech and all your internal chatter belongs to the ego-mind and disrupts the silence of pure being. Try to reclaim it, since it is your original nature, at every opportunity: in nature, in solitude, in meditation, and intentionally, by not multi-tasking or keeping always busy doing, doing, doing. Make the conscious choice to remain still and quiet as often and for as long as possible, taking breaks throughout the day or through your breathing. Complete mental silence is the ultimate goal of your soul.
Mastering the art of listening starts by knowing yourself and nurturing your soul. So contact me today to transform your life into a soul-guided adventure of self-exploration and energy management toward emotional and spiritual freedom!
© 2020 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.