There is a very big difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is simply the function of the body part called ‘ear’. Listening is something much more complicated and much harder to do.
And hardly surprising! Given all the noise. Everywhere. All. The. Time.
This is one of the reasons I love to go on silent retreat. For in the silence there is much less noise. With the mobile phone off, and no other ‘voices’, it is much easier to sort the wheat from the chaff.
For our minds are FULL. Of thoughts. Charging around. Out of control. Like the bat and ball computer games of the 1970s…
But in the silence it is possible to find respite. With no new ‘inputs’, and time to simply ‘listen’, it is possible to ‘tune in’ properly.
For life is busy, busy, busy nowadays. And we’re often ‘in a rush’.
Not rushing is the key to listening.
For listening is gentle, kind, soft and compassionate. Whether listening to others or to self. We need to stop, and take time, in order to listen.
Listening takes everything it hears and filters it, through a sieve. It allows that with ‘no value’ to drop away. Attending instead to the nuggets of wisdom that occasionally stream past in the ‘noise’ of the waterfall or whilst rushing around.
On silent retreat it’s like someone turns the tap off! But every now and then you can be delivered the most refreshing glass of water – which will nourish and feed you more than the rest of the year’s deluge.
Meditation can help us to touch into the silence and really hear ourselves on a more regular / daily basis. The odd word that drops into our consciousness during the stillness of meditation can be more powerful and relevant than reams and reams of someone else’s well-meant wisdoms.
Take time out to tune in to yourself and ‘listen’ in the silence as often as you can.