The Art of Listening
Updated: 4 days ago
There are many ways to listen and things to listen to...listen to music, listen to the news, listen to your heart, listen to reason, listen to a friend tell you their problems, listen to your intuition. Learning to listen in different ways, for ourselves and for others, can be a powerful and meaningful form of connection and communication.
When we are listening to something like the news, a class, a webinar, or other information that is being relayed to us, we may find ourselves hearing it in certain ways, trusting it's validity or not, dissecting it for believability, determining it's impact on our lives, it's impact on other people's lives, considering whether or not it deserves our attention at all. We tend to listen to this kind of communication from our thinking mind, sometimes with our ego mind, from which we attempt to sort out what we think about the information pulling (consciously or unconsciously) from our past experiences and our thought knowledge. Sometimes we listen with our intuitive sense or our gut feeling and either trust it or don't trust it depending on what we decide. This kind of listening to information can be interesting to experiment with, to see if we use our thinking/ego mind more or if we determine the "truth" of information through our intuitive/gut voice more. We all have the ability to use both, some of us are more tuned in to our intuitive guidance, and some of us rely more heavily on the intellectual part of us. Both have their place and usefulness and taking time to be present and notice which one is being used can give us some insight into how we listen and then process information we receive.
Another way we listen is to listen to other people talk about themselves or share their lives with us, be it their problems, their good news, etc. When listening in this way, we are often waiting to hear something that we can relate to and respond to so that we can tell our problems and good news to them as well. We also might be listening for some way that we could help with advice or insight from our own experience. These are wonderful ways to connect with other people, get to know people and share our lives with each other. Here too, we can practice noticing how we listen and consider experimenting a little bit. Are we listening with just our thinking mind? Can we try listening with our heart? Or with our spirit? When we make space for others to just share what's on their minds, without thinking too much about how to respond, it can sometimes take our listening to a deeper place. It can give more room to the person being listened to to feel safe. It can give us the opportunity to sense more than just their words, and gauge their energetic state, and understand what they're saying from a different perspective. This way of listening is not necessarily easy and takes some practice, but it can be another powerful way of interacting with others in a meaningful way.
We may also take time to listen to just our own inner guidance about our lives. This way of listening is outside of our "thinking/analytical mind" completely, as it done by focusing internally to make space for the Universal Source or Divine Spirit to chime in. Prayer and meditation are some common ways people make this internal connection so that they are open to receiving guidance. When we meditate, we start with a quiet space where we can be undisturbed. Then we focus on our breath and find our way to a relaxed state in body and mind. Once we have found a meditative state, we can 'listen' through our senses as we may 'hear' things as words, images, feelings, or colors. One simple practice is to ask a question, and not try to answer it, but just stay focused on the breath as we put the question out to the Universe and see what comes back to us. It's quite different than trying to figure out an answer.
Yoga can be used as a precursor to meditation, to connect with and relax the physical body, through breath and movement, starting to quiet the mind, and prepare for meditation. It can also be used as a moving meditation, focusing on our question or intention as we connect with our breath and move through our physical and energetic space. It is another way to 'listen' to your physical, emotional, and mental state and check in with yourself. A yoga class could be a form a guided meditation. Guided meditation can be a great way to get connected as well. Sometimes the energy of the teacher or leader of a group can actually help us shift our energy and find that stillness we need to connect and be able to listen to what our inner guidance is telling us.
This week, try experimenting with how you listen...to information, to other people, to yourself. Are you open to listening with your heart instead of your head? Are you able to distinguish between your ego and your intuitive voice?
We offer mindful yoga classes to connect you with your breath and bring fuller awareness to your practice, as well as guided practices through Reiki energy, Aromatherapy, and artistic, creative workshops. Explore more at Roots & Space.