mousemusings...multimedia, music, progressive politics, video, web design and general rants
Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Saturday, March 05, 2005

Relearning, How to Listen

A few days ago in the entry How Do I Do What I Do , I answered the question, "What is your 'secret to success'?" with a simple, "I listen to myself".

In the comments Kevin asked how one goes about relearning how to listen to themselves when the noise and time spent struggling to simply survive drowns out any inner dialogue.

It's been a little difficult for me to know how to answer, but I feel it's a very important question to address. There are many people who would like to relearn this skill and more I'm sure, who appreciate gentle reminders.

When someone stops paying attention to what is "in the news" they lose touch with a chunk of reality. For some of us it's an intentional refusal to acknowledge how things actually are in this moment. I'm doing that myself to some degree right now. I make it "someone else's problem" and try to forget my own reciprocity and interconnectedness by detaching myself. I am aware of my intentions because I'm listening to myself and I also know it's only a temporary break so I can regroup and take time to accomplish some personal goals without too much distraction. I could easily make 'not paying attention to the news' a habit were I not aware of my intentions. I would then have to relearn where all the good sources of news are.

Not paying attention to ourselves has become an ingrained habit of routinized thought patterns and relationships, and for some, religious indoctrination replaced attention very early on. All habits narrow our view and prevent growth, healing and understanding. To relearn how to listen to ourselves we need to learn again where the resources are and how to tap into them.

I replied to Kevin in the comments that I would try to poetically address this. The difficulty for me is knowing where to begin. Because I guide my own life with instinct and intuitiveness it is hard for me to understand exactly where the natural process got lost in other people. I don't want to assume or presume anything but I figure since I'm having to struggle and rely on instruction and help from others to achieve a modicum of proficiency where my weaknesses lie, perhaps I can give back by sharing my strengths.

I think the best place to begin relearning is with the basics. First is merely watching yourself; simple childlike observations, mental notes as you move throughout your day. It is not navel gazing, rather, it's an engaging, creative, highly sensual, nonjudgmental attentiveness that lives within every one of us. For example, today when you routinely take a drink of water, observe yourself drinking it. You are a sponge, absorb it. What are you drinking it out of? Is it cold? How does your body react to it? Are you standing or sitting? Does it make you think of anything in particular, a color, a texture, a song? Does it taste fresh or is it merely there to quench your thirst? Alert attention, mindfulness. Your daily struggle to survive just became a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable. It took no more time than drinking the water you were already drinking anyway.

"Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence." Nisargadatta

In the recent past I've written a couple blog entries that are related, Listening to Ourselves, and Touching Ourselves, but I'm afraid I was a bit misunderstood. I've decided to take some time each day and write a some sort of reference, a poem, (original or not) a simple meditation or an inner resource intended to help reclaim the art of listening to ourselves through the attention of each moment that surrounds us in the sensual world we all inhabit and share. I'll try to remember to categorize entries of this type under 'listening' and will keep a link on the right sidebar for people who are interested but don't stop by here daily.

Life is a Dance
"All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment vital and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unlived."
Martha Graham

posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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