Galina Sanderson, Enchanted Life, tel. 098292364, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ears of the Heart
Every day we are bombarded with thousands of mega- and gigabytes of information which stream into our brains and bodies through Internet, email, TV, radio, iPods , telephones, billboards and even from the stickers on the back windows of the cars. How to survive, stay sane and distinguish what is vitally important, important and not so important in all these waterfalls of sounds and images? And if we allow something to seep through us, to fill our space inside, does it make our life more peaceful, joyful and meaningful? In case it does not, should we then re-learn the whole process of listening and thoroughly choose what sounds, music and words to avoid? Sound and colour are the expression of vibrations which form our reality. Our personal cultural upbringing defines how we see colours and hear the sounds, what our mind allows us to perceive. Our preconceived beliefs filter or alter the light that is always there for us. On many occasions we can only admire tribal cultures for their ability to experience the vast sensual world out there, as if they have more developed senses than us.
What would you say if you could distinguish the sounds of plants and trees growing in your garden? Or see and name the tones of white snow in more than hundred different ways?
Perhaps it could be useful to learn how to listen not only with our ears, but with the whole body.
It is not by chance that the mostly common used word in the Scriptures is ‘listen’. Interestingly enough, Benedictine monks are the main surviving chanting order in the Christian tradition The rules of monastic life written by Italian Saint Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine order, starts with the following words: “Listen, O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart..’
The ear of thy heart – is it only a beautiful metaphor? Not really. If you look at anatomical structure of the human heart, above atrium, you will find it has two valves called auricles (the Latin name for the ear), they look like flapping elephant ears. These conical pouches pump additional blood in case the main chambers of the heart don’t do their job properly. How did St.Benedict know about auricles long before Leonardo Da Vinci made his anatomical explorations of the human body? Divine clairvoyance or just pure knowing?
Perfect listening begins with obedience (in French language to listen - obere – to obey) and that means first creating silence inside. “If you cannot hear my silence, you will never hear my words”. We can learn so much about ourselves by being silent, just watching how the thoughts arise in response to outside events.
In Hawaiian tradition it is believed that we are all born filled with Light inside, but learnt concepts and preconceived ideas push this Light out from us as heavy stones push the water out from the bottom of the well. So to make more space for new ideas and let the Light shine through, let us dissolve old patterns. Let’s open up to new experiences, new ways of thinking.
One of the paradoxical rules of developing deep listening skills is: in order to experience silence – make sounds, tone and chant! Sung vowels and mantras, harmonic overtones are perfect tools for calming our anxious minds. They were created especially for that purpose- to create more space inside, to dissolve worries and problems.
Chanting is an exercise in listening. Listening is an exercise in obedience. True listening is approximation of self-less-ness. When we open our ears and heart to the words spoken and unspoken of another person, self simply dissolves and our deep listening becomes an expression of love.
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