are we listening?

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To listen and to hear are as alike as oil and water. We often think we are listening, when all that’s really happening is that we’re hearing a download of noise from an external source, data which our memory (thinking) sorts into stories that gel with our own worldview.

The art of listening involves bringing relaxed word-free attention to the moment’s fullness – whether it’s a friend sharing confidences, a ghetto-blaster thumping, a kookaburra cackling, the water murmuring and the breeze sighing over its surface. In the same impartial way, this listening notices the constant commentary being broadcast inwardly by thinking and feeling – the whole movement of “me”.

It’s interesting to find that when this quality of listening is present there’s really nothing to say because opinions are absent. There’s nothing to say, yet everything that matters is being said. In the absence of words, something else has space to speak, something inextricably intimate that we recognize as Love.

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