Freedom through the art of Listening

“One of my wings beat faster,
I couldn’t help it–
the one away from the light.

It hurt to be told all the time
how I loved that terrible flame.” –William Stafford, Growing Up

If you experienced a small increase in awareness, this awareness will make it possible to see the mountain that impedes your success. If you experienced a bit of compassion for yourself with this awareness you will be able to move this mountain. Patience and compassion along with a willingness to do what it takes to be free from habitual states is key here. Slow and steady. And, sometimes just take it slow. In fact, slowing down will allow you to move any habitual pattern that gets in your way of good health.

Habitual states are typically accompanied by a busy mind where new, fresh ideas cannot be heard or invited in. When we slow down through the process of awareness we can then unhook habitual patterns. We can also bring in new possibilities of relating to the moment. Consider a pattern that really seems to trip you up, seems to support unhealthy means rather than healthy ones. For example, eating unconsciously where we cannot really pay attention to our food. This is done when we eat while we drive, or eating while we watch TV, or reading while we eat. Unconscious eating is often fast eating. Our awareness is either on something else or on many things and not fully on our meal.

When we slow down we can listen to what wants to happen in a given moment. When we listen and pay attention to what we notice this gives us the ability to respond to our bodies in a good way. When we listen to our body we discover it just wants to rejoice, enjoy and create with us. It wants to release the stored up pain and feel free. Our body wants to move and express. Our body wants to experience every one of its’ senses. Our body wants to love and to be loved.

We need to get beyond the thinking mind so we can listen to what our body is saying to us at any given moment. (Spiritual Journaling and meditation help with this). We need to get beyond the habitual response of our mind and emotions and listen to our heart, listen to our intuitive body. It is not the body that craves the second helping of chocolate ice cream. Nor is it the soul. It is the mind, the mind that rules the emotions that insists on second helpings and other habitual ways. In Buddhism this dynamic is part of our ego clinging: clinging to the “got to have this.” Let go, breath and listen to discover what it is your body and soul really want and need.

Listen to your body. What does she want?

Listen to your soul. What does she need?

Listen to what you really want.

Listen. Listen to the call of nature.

Listen to the call of your True Nature.

Listen. Listen.

Consider journaling the following to help you listen . . .

1. Give yourself 30 minutes for this experience. Go out in nature for a slow walk. Notice all the sounds. Listen. Listen to the sounds under the sounds and those nearby and far away. Bring your journal with you. After walking and listening for a while, sit and journal about the sounds you hear. Record what you hear. Then later sit and listen to your body. Try to hear your body, to feel your body’s vibration and physical sensations and emotions with your inner ear. Write about what you notice in your body.

Now write about what you forgot repeating the following words: “I forgot . . .” Instead of stopping your writing to think, get beyond the thinking mind and repeat the sentence, “I forgot . . .” Try and fill up a page.

Now take the sounds you heard in nature and in your body along with the above piece on forgetting and combine them into a poem.

2. Before lunch practice the following brief meditation. With feet on the floor, breath into your belly. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your connection for a moment to all that lives and breathes. Feel your connection to the breathing earth. Imagine roots going down into the earth. Again breathe deep into your belly (breath in through the nose and out through the mouth), and ask yourself: What does my body want and what does my soul need? Listen to what comes to you. Trust what comes and make note of it in your journal. And now, enjoy your lunch.

3. This week journal each morning about how you want the day to look, feel, be for you. Focus on meals and food but include other aspects of your day. Script the ideal day. Consider this ideal day for a moment after you are done journaling it. See your self eating well, slowing down, and going for that walk. Describe how it will feel and be for you. (Be careful not to make a list of goals. Instead act like the artist painting her day – make it beautiful. Keep it simple).

Sayings of the Blind by William Stafford

Feeling is believing.

Mountains don’t exist. But their slopes do.

Little people have low voices.

All things, even rocks, make a little noise.

The silence back of all sound is called “the sky.”

There is a big stranger in town called the sun.
He doesn’t speak to us but puts out a hand.

Night opens a door into a cellar–
you can smell it coming.

On Sundays everyone stands farther apart.

Velvet feels black.

Meeting cement is never easy.

What do they mean when they say night is gloomy?

Edison didn’t invent much.

Whenever you wake up it’s morning.

Names have a flavor.

¬–Sayings of the Blind by William Stafford, taken from The Way It Is, New and Selected Poems GRAYWOLF PRESS

Yours in this shared journey, Julie

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