One of the drawbacks of wanting to live in the midst of ordinary life- not drawing attention to myself as a seer or shaman, not wanting people to think that the magic is made by me nor that I want to be seen as special, all of which takes away from the power of self-realisation in the person to whom I am of service –Is that the size of the gap between what I live and how I see others trying to make sense of life occasionally knocks me for six. Even the most interested and intelligent put together what they already know and, in a friendly and well-meaning way, apply some of that to how they imagine I function. And they are mostly miles off course, having no idea how much I see or know, how great the self-discipline, nor how rooted in discreet humility the whole business is.
None of this much matters, but it did get me thinking “what is it that others are missing?” I’ve been working intimately at a very profound level with a bunch of people, women and men, who joined me for a week’s retreat in the summer. We haven’t stopped the process – via email and occasional get-togethers - of deepening an exceptional sense of community that comes from raw, honest, openly-shared feelings about Life and how one fucks up, falls down, gets up, dreams and loves, stumbles, finds an outstretched hand, loves, fails, falls again, loves, celebrates, delights and grows together a thing of great beauty. Everyone is learning to properly listen. To themselves, to their body, to another, to their instinct, to feel and not to deny those feelings, to give full attention to another and to be still in body and mind.
A proper listening makes for much greater learning. Not in the conventional sense.
We’re holding a for any woman who wants to learn how to learn from others, and how best to share her gifts. This will be experiential, with practices led by the splendid educationalist Ann Finlayson.
Come and find out more about yourself here
Meanwhile, here’s something on true listening.
A true listener experiences layers of information: physical, sensual, energetic, cognitive (with multiple variations of understanding in both mental and emotional fields of play) all flowing into each other like colours on a canvas generously hung on an uncrowded wall... rather than hastily tacked up among one's own gallery of never-ending, unfinished self-portraits.
True listening is a feast. It nurtures the capacity to enjoy others, to celebrate the amazing richness of the human palette, and to widen one's own experience of life through the gift of meeting and knowing others.
True listening requires neutrality. It does not occur in the presence of judgment, prejudice or expectations.
True listening is an art barely cultivated in our noisy, self-serving, self-asserting society, but I suggest that it is a skill worth learning for the benefit of the one who listens and the one who communicates. Everyone can develop such skills. Some may become such skillful listeners that they themselves are deeply enriched by listening. Such a skill grows into an art form fashioned in silence and stillness. Such an artist is worth listening to. When the listener becomes the communicator, she or he enriches the lives of other true listeners... and so it grows.
© Judith Seelig 2014