Our hearts can become filled with praise and thanks without the use of words.
~ Paul Tillich
I know a few of you out there practice yoga and/or meditation and some have chosen the word Gratitude for this year’s word or theme. So, I thought I’d share with you that Spirit Voyage has a 40-day meditation practice going that began yesterday (but you can climb aboard today or anytime, really). It’s called A Grateful Heart. The meditation is beautiful. Join me, if you’re interested. (For those who don’t like signing up for stuff via email, you don’t have to. Just use the link I provided. I enjoy the daily messages and reminders, but they really aren’t necessary.)
When we pause, allow a gap, and breath deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly we slow down, look out, and there’s the world. It can feel like briefly standing in the eye of the tornado or the still point of a turning wheel. Our mood may be agitated or cheerful. What we see and hear may be chaos or it may be the ocean, the mountains, or birds flying across a clear blue sky. Either way, momentarily our mind is still and we are not pulled in or pushed away by what we are experiencing.
Have you ever sat very silently, not with your attention fixed on anything, not making an effort to concentrate, but with the mind very quiet, really still? Then you hear everything, don’t you? You hear the far off noises as well as those that are nearer and those that are very close by, the immediate sounds — which means really that you are listening to everything. Your mind is not confined to one narrow little channel. If you can listen in this way, listen with ease, without strain, you will find an extraordinary change taking place within you, a change that comes without your volition, without your asking, and in that change there is great beauty and depth of insight.
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.
Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
~ Mother Teresa
We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?”