Listening to Silence

Lately I have been reading books on the subject of listening.  Many of us, including myself, think we are great listeners, but in fact most times when we are listening we are already formulating in our heads a response.  We are only partially listening to the person we are having conversations with.

The word “listen” can also spell “silent”.  It is in the silence that we listen.  We are so used to noise.  Television, music, the buzzing sound of the refrigerator, dishwasher, air conditioner, traffic, etc.  We are bombarded by noise on a daily basis.  If we purposefully take the time and quiet things down and listen, we would be amazed at what we really hear.

When you are speaking to someone next, do not answer right away.  After the person has finished speaking, wait a few seconds.  Count 3 or 4 seconds and then respond.  By waiting you become more aware of the person and you are taking the time to really notice and understand the person you are having a conversation with.  What are they really saying?  What is their body language?

We also need to listen to ourselves and what is within and what is occurring within.  Divine resides within and around us.  With all the noise and “busyness” it is no wonder that we cannot feel or sense Divine.  To focus within the best exercise is of course meditation.  However, yoga or Tai Chi are also good forms of exercise to practice silence and awareness. 

Writing, journaling, painting or drawing are simple exercises in practicing silence.  Sitting or walking in nature and being aware of what is around.  As the saying goes we need to “smell the roses”, but we should do more than that.  Take the time to look at the rose and its stem.  We need to feel the rose. We are a part of the rose like the rose is a part of us.  Divine is everywhere including within us, but Divine is difficult to sense or feel if we are spending our time being preoccupied.

By practicing silent listening our awareness will increase and expand.  We will take the time to breathe and approach situations and life with calmness and understanding as opposed to having a frenzied approach.  We allow Divine to surface.  We move from a fight or flight response approach to a calm awareness.

Give silence a try.  Carve out time in your day when you spend time in silence.  Even if only for 10 minutes.  Whether it is sitting in a quiet space or lying down on your bed or couch or going for a walk.  Take the time to practice silence and awareness.  You would be amazed and what you feel and sense.