“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich
If only someone would understand me!’ What a significantly large number of people in this world yearn for understanding. The need to be understood is a basic need, and yet, how few of us have the good fortune to have this need fulfilled completely. And why is this?
To understand we have to listen, and to listen we have to use far more than our ears. What most tend to do is to hear, rather than listen. When you ‘hear’, your conditioning, your belief system, and your opinions, colour this process, and you hear what you believe that you have heard. It might surprise you to learn that another’s words pass through many layers of your filters before they reach your mind where they can be processed. Each layer of the filter removes more and more of what the other wishes to convey. The result? Misunderstanding, conflict, disharmony.
What follows in the wake of this awareness are three very significant questions: What is listening? Why do we not listen? How can we access the magnetic force that is Listening?
Listening is an inner process that extends beyond the limitation of the physical to the vitality of Spirit. It knows no distance, heeds no time, needs no words, and wants no validation. You hear what lies outside; you listen to that which is within. Listening is a soundless force that carries the loudest clarion call of the soul. Listening is the truest form of meditation.
We do not listen to others because we do not know how to listen to ourselves. The life force within us is constantly communicating with us through our feelings, our emotions, and our thoughts. Some have called this communication intuition without truly understanding the nuances of this word. The English dictionary defines tuition as ‘instruction’ and ‘tutelage’. It follows that ‘in-tuition’ is the instruction that comes to you from within, the teaching that is self-generated.
Every child is well conditioned to pay attention to external sounds, but not to listen to the vital inner force. Dear friend, it is the life force that defines you, that motivates you, that urges you onwards to change and growth. It carries the consciousness of inner compulsions, deep-rooted fears, catalysts of joy, soul desires, and physical needs.
When this strength is tapped into consciously, you respond to internal and external stimuli because you are listening with inner awareness. When you are deaf to its insistent call, you react in degrees that are so out of proportion to the initial stimulus that it must necessarily be short-lived, not having the power to sustain itself.
When we are emotionally and spiritually challenged we are unable to listen to our soul. That is why we play petty games with each other. That is why we long for the sound of another’s voice. That is why we yearn to hear the sweet sound of applause and praise. That is why we harbour envy and malice. That is why we long to hear the whisper of another’s ‘sweet nothings’, while all the while the soul rings out ‘Hallelujah’.
You can be the victim of another’s lies, but listening will bring only truth to you; the truth of self, the truth of SELF, and the truth that ALL is SELF. Do not be fearful of what listening reveals, for even bitter truths bring a gentle inner calm.
To access this magnetic and strange force, we have to be willing to move beyond hearing. That which the ears cannot hear, the heart can listen to – the wordless plea for love in the harsh scream of ‘I hate you’, the shriek of inner pain as the lips form the words ‘I am fine’, the callous indifference well-disguised in soft tones.
Our deepest truths cannot be voiced, but when we can listen to our own, we can listen to those of others. We need to discipline ourselves not to fall prey to haste and reaction. Listening helps us to discover who we are, and thus the secrets of the Universe are revealed.
Listening begins with contemplation, strengthens with awareness, matures with acceptance, and is empowered by unconditional love. In order to listen you must be willing to experience the strength of personal vulnerability, to stop the use of masks and disguises, to break free of self- imposed inhibitions and embargos, and be joyous about who you are. The more you listen to your inner instruction the clearer will be its tutelage. Intuition is a universal fact of humanity, not the privilege of the chosen few.
Wake up, wake up and listen. There is someone who understands you, there is someone who loves you, there is someone guiding you, looking after you, showing you the way. JUST LISTEN.