February 1

The quieter you become,
the more you are able to hear.

Zen saying


Today's Meditation:

When you talked to your child yesterday, did you hear the fear in her voice, there behind the words?  When you talked to your spouse, did you hear the uncertainty in the words that sounded so strong?  When you were walking from your car to the supermarket, did you hear the birds singing there above the sounds of the traffic?

There's so much to hear in life that we miss for so many different reasons.  Sometimes it's because we want to talk ourselves, so we don't truly hear what someone else has to say, there in the sounds and the hesitations that we don't notice.  Some of the more pleasant sounds escape us because we're busy making noise ourselves, either the perceptible noise of our voices or the noise of the zillions of thoughts that we allow to occupy and control our minds.

Quiet down.  Slow down.  Allow peace to enter you and then emanate from you.  Be satisfied with hearing the stories of others, without contributing to them.  Listen carefully for the birds, for the laughter of children, for the music that's there in the rhythm of the day you're going through.  Hear the nuances in the voices of your loved ones, and hear the expressions of joy and fear and love and hope.

Life and learning aren't about making noise and always contributing our voices to all that goes on.  Life and learning are about having patience, about hearing truly and fully, and allowing our lives to grow richer and fuller as a result of what we get from what we hear. 

Questions to consider:

What's the main point of making noise all the time?   Is it an effective strategy or an ineffective compensatory technique?

Why do we so rarely learn the value of quiet--of enjoying quiet and of being quiet ourselves?

How much do we really hear when we talk with others?  What interferes with our hearing?

For further thought:

There is a silence that matches our best possibilities when
we have learned to listen to others.  We can master the art
of being quiet in order to be able to hear clearly what others
are saying. . . . We need to cut off the garbled static of our
own preoccupations to give to people who want our quiet attention.

Eugene Kennedy


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