Posted in Air, Earth, Eastern Shore, Endings, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Listening, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Weather, Winter, Wonder

A Monday meander: Listening

The sun sits on the fence.

Whether listening to me, or listening to a flute player, or listening to the birds in the morning, or sitting by the side of the waterfall and listening to it, the same experience can happen. It happens not from what you listen to, it happens because you listen. Just listening gives you total silence; in deep listening you disappear. The whole art is how to listen.

Once you know how to listen, in deep receptivity, sensitivity, you are not there. The listener is not there, only listening. And when the listener is not there, there is no ego: there is no one who listens, only listening. And then it penetrates to the very core of your being.

… So try to be a listener. Just hearing is not enough. Hear, you can; listening will need great discipline. It is the greatest discipline there is. If you listen, you are already delivered; because in that listening, suddenly you find yourself.

This looks like a paradox. You disappear, I say, and in that disappearance you find yourself. You are empty, and in that emptiness arises a fullness, a fullfilment. No thought is there. And then there is understanding. And love flows, like breathing – it goes in, it goes out, it goes in, it goes out. Then you start sharing your being with the existence that surrounds you. Then the part is no more part and separate – it throbs with the whole. You fall in line with the whole, you are no more out of step. A harmony has arisen – the celestial music, the music of the stars.

~ Osho, The Whole Art is How to Listen

Stretching out across the sky.

Sunrise was beautiful this morning.  Not dramatic or spectacular, but softly beautiful.  As I watched the sky brighten and the subtle colors sweep across the clouds, I listened:  to Lloyd’s rooster crowing and announcing the dawn of a new day; to a flock of crows cawing; to a hawk somewhere overhead whistling; to the booming of gunshots in the distance being carried and echoed across the water; to the deer (two does) rustling the grasses behind me (they must have been saying good morning because I know they can move almost silently through those grasses); to the sound of hundreds of geese lifting off in flight, honking a warning that the hunters were out this morning; to the high pitched chatter of a couple of bald eagles; to my own inhales and exhales, deep, slow, and calm from my morning meditation and yoga, from being outside and watching the sunrise; to the melody of morning weaving it’s way across the landscape; to the clouds who sing their own songs as the light from the sun and the wind move them across the sky.

When the light begins to pour across the clouds.

While I was partaking and participating in my break-of-day ritual, it occurred to me that winters are a time of sunrises for me.  Perhaps because they arrive later than, say, the summer sunrises.  Perhaps because my winters are a time of early to bed and early to rise.  Perhaps a bit of both.  Whatever the case, it feels good to start my day outside, watching for the light.  Even on cloudy mornings, there is something reassuring and healing about the brightening of the sky.  It is a lesson I learned while living in Northeast Ohio.  If you want to get along with winter, if you want to stave off some of the hints of seasonal depression, start your day with the sunrise.  Even if there’s not much to see, even on those grey days, you’ll still benefit from the transition of dark into light.

Sweeping.

Genuine listening is hard work; there is little about it that is mechanical… We hear with our ears, but we listen with our eyes and mind and heart and skin and guts as well.

~ Alfred Benjamin

Rising from behind the pond.

This morning I was reading a post from David at Raptitude:  Why the Depth Year Was My Best Year.  You may or may not recall that last year he posted about a hypothetical idea he had in which we would Go Deeper, Not Wider (link is to the original article).  It was an appealing concept, and one which I forgot about not too long into 2018.  Thoughts of it would come back around occasionally but they didn’t stick.  The same can be said for my thoughts about Swedish Death Cleaning.  I want to do it, or so I think, but just don’t get beyond the beginnings of it.  Beginnings are so exciting, aren’t they?  It’s the middle, where the hard work (and meaning) happens, that causes all the backsliding.

How many sunrises in a lifetime? How many do we see?  How many do we miss?

Instead of a Year of Depth, why not practice a Month of Depth?  January, they say, is part of the depths of winter.  What more appropriate time could there be to go deeper?  Instead of buying new books, I’ll read the books that are cluttering up my bookshelves and clamoring to be read.  Instead of switching from Spanish to Irish Gaelic (after finding out through DNA testing that I am more Irish than I thought, I got this whim to study Gaelic), I’ll continue learning Spanish on Duolingo.  It’s a much more useful language anyhow.  When am I ever going to use Irish Gaelic?  Never, probably.  Instead of anything brand spanking new, I will continue and continue, and hopefully dive deeper.  I will continue drawing mandalas and learning how to draw trees.  I will continue my slow but steady decluttering.  What’s my hurry, anyhow?  I will continue the morning routine I began at the Solstice (or began years ago, perhaps, adding one small change at time).

Scattered.

Speaking of hurry (I did mention it up there), I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon that the neuroscientists seem to think is a result of meditation.  Since I started a regular practice of meditating twice a day (or mostly twice a day, but at least once a day), time has slowed for me.  It’s been a gradual slowing, something I didn’t notice until the other day.  It’s lovely, especially when you consider how much time speeds up as you age.

Swoosh.

And so, here we are, at the end of another year and although I already did a short retrospective just before the Solstice, I suppose it’s the day for another something of the sort.  If I put aside politics, national and world events, and the terrible policies of the big baby residing in the White House (and just why aren’t the headlines something along the lines of “Toddler in the White House throws another tantrum”?), 2018 was a good year on a personal level.  It’s not easy to put aside those first three things, though, and those did make for a stressful, sometimes depressing, sometimes angry, year.  I try not to put too much pressure on the coming year but I do hope to see us evolve, as a country and as humans.  And that I evolve beyond my need for name-calling and to make up less than flattering headlines.

A subtle play of clouds, light, and color.

Thank you so much for visiting and joining me on another Monday meander.  I don’t expect to see the sunset this evening because of the rain and clouds, but if the clouds should part, let’s meet out at the Point.  Sunset is scheduled for 4:54 PM.  The temperature is in the lower 50’s today so it shouldn’t be too chilly out there.  A jacket will probably keep you warm enough.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Clouds reflected on the water near sunset yesterday.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  991)  Listening to the sunrise songs.  992)  Wondering what it’s like to be a cloud floating across the morning sky.  993)  Hope, in all its forms.  994)  An overabundance of reasons to be grateful for 2018.  995)  The slowing of time.

Resting in a tree. (A double exposure.)
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

25 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Listening

  1. A lovely, peaceful post, Robin. I enjoy sunrises, too–though I’m usually inside looking through the window and drinking coffee. Your photos are wonderful–you were right about the moon 🙂 –though I really like the sunrise photos (and listening). Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a beautiful meander…your pictures are stunning…this post has inspired me to seek out a book and perhaps to read another inspiring post…thank you, Robin! P.S. I also hope to do more meditation in the new year…thank you for the timely reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting. Apparently the light of early morning is blue and wakes you up (sort of like the light of computer screens), so it makes sense that it’s helpful in winter. If only I wasn’t snoozing… And so glad you mentioned the time expansion. I’ve told a number of friends that meditation somehow expands time and you go from rushing to having enough. Some have taken it seriously and started meditating. Others, just think it’s another weirdness from me. Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting idea, to see the light come in the morning to help with the earlier darkening of the day. I keep toying with the idea of getting up earlier and having me time before work, but haven’t pulled it off yet. Not sure why I resist.

    Enjoy the deeper diving. I think that’s a fantastic idea! And I like the idea that meditation slows time. I will remember this as I have struggled with meditation in the past. But this benefit will help me stay on track, as I don’t like the feeling of time accelerating!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your reflections on Spanish versus Gaelic really struck me. This morning, as I was practice French (which I just began studying about a month ago), I looked at all my Spanish flashcards and felt … maybe that’s where I should be focusing my efforts, instead of flitting on to something new for the feeling of new. Unlike Spanish, which I’d studied a bit before, French was totally new to me–and thus totally attractive!

    I’ve also experienced the time-slowing phenomenon. I wake up so early, I meditate a few times in between reading and studying language. I also try to meditate in the evening, because I feel the difference. But if I don’t get in my evening meditation? That’s OK, too, as long as I get back to it again before long.

    It’s such a relief to feel the slowing. I can’t imagine how I hurried so fast so long, but I know the fact I did has a huge role in how unwell I got over the last couple years. So, my going slower and being more present here=yes, please.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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