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
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.