ways of listening

"ways of listening"

  1. hard. like your very life’s pulse depends upon it. like you’d stop at nothing to unearth the sound source. like being woken in the night by dreams, and you are trying to recall them in the half hazed cobweb of sleep and awake, and you know if you could just remember that thing, the words she spoke or the way the arrow was pointing, that the dream would unlock and all your seeking would make sense then.

  2. soft. absence of effort. refusing intrusion. listen like the slow stretch. like the contentment of good work. like there is no rush and very little is truly urgent. there is time. there is space. you need do nothing but be here, because what you seek is seeking you. so wash dishes in hot water, and drink morning coffee in bed, and lose all sense of time while watching the blinking sign cross from walking man to red hand. these things themselves are the listening.

  3. ask questions.

  4. ear pressed to seashell, listening for waves. if you want, you can hear the ocean anywhere.

  5. listening as pilgrimage, how we choose to walk with the unanswerable.

  6. be quiet.

  7. listen in the speaking. say all the things you need to say. and don’t stop till you are finished. and know that the some part of you heard the things that wanted voice, and this alone can be the beginning.

  8. get on a train. 

  9. listen for the songbird. the ocean rush. the late night swarm of summer insects. the echo of splashes. the flicker of fire. listen toward the direction of your heart.

  10. in the waiting. the no answers. the not yet. not here. not now. you think the thing you are waiting for is the answer. but if you listen, what you hear in the waiting itself, can change everything.

  11. through loving. hearts of devotion.

  12. in stillness. in quiet. in mad rush of people and places and faces.

  13. let your life speak, the quakers say. and i believe this. that your life itself is a language. the art then, is in learning to listen. listen as if always learning.

  14. listen like when you were a child, in the cramped closet or tangled up in a tree or hovering on top of the roof of the shed, waiting in the hush, trying to slow the breath. listen like when your ears would strain, waiting to hear the words. listen for the sound. olly olly oxen free. come out out, come out wherever you are. hiding is done.

  15. first thing in the morning, before anything else comes and tells you how it is supposed to be. listen there. and late at night, listen in the dark.

  16. listen for the banging sounds. knocks on doors, insistent, unrelenting. there is a good chance, these will never leave, until you listen and let them in.

  17. listen for the words themselves. one after the other, a trail to follow from here to there and back again.

  18. listen underneath the words, to the face, the eyes and how he was telling me that he didn’t care but everything about him said the opposite was true. listen beyond sound. hearing with sight, the way shades of blue were heard like dance music that morning, and how connecting dots of idea is like hearing thunder crack in the wide sky, sending rain soaking into concrete and open mouths. 

  19. listen to skin. and with touch. it is the most subtle and clear language i know. and it doesn’t give a shit about reason or belief or opinion. it knows what it knows. listening to it, and with it, can begin entire revolutions of liberation.

  20. go away. leave. get in the car. or on a plane. across the country. or down the street. just walk outside. go where you have not yet been. and suddenly, it’s like you can hear all the things, even the ones that you usually pass over everyday because you were so busy forgetting that you once chose them as your own.

  21. listen by doing things slowly. one thing at a time. breath by breath. bite by bite. sometimes, it’s the only way.

  22. the fortune teller would always say to me at the end, that these things seen in the cards would come to be if nothing changed, if i kept doing things as i was now. they did not predict the future as much as reveal the directions i was walking. and i could change it at anytime. maybe this is when i started to listen to my life.

  23. place your hand over the rib cage and feel. one, two, three, four. like rungs of a ladder. solid and space. breaks and cracks. and the neon heart underneath. listen for her.

  24. trust yourself, and what you hear, even if everyone else is telling you that you must be mistaken. this, maybe more than anything else, grows the muscle of deep listening. 

  25. listen for the first words spoken.

  26. listen for the last words spoken, before it grows quiet, the way all the words have been said, and now you both can sink into the rest of being emptied and filled.

  27. walk away from the clamoring glamour of noise. noise makes it harder to listen because all the sounds start to blur. so walk away, be willing to risk the panic of being with no sound at all and it’s flurry of stimulation, until slowly, you start to hear your own voice again. and it is clear and rooted and in love. and so you love her back, by paying attention, by following where she leads, by listening.