Our ears are bombarded with different sounds all the time, 24 hours a day if we live in the centre of a big city. With all the hearing that goes on, you’d think we’d be good at listening but it’s not true. The truth is, the profusion of sound in our lives hasn’t made us better at listening, it’s created expert non-hearers! Just think about how effectively you can screen out “noise” you don’t want to be bothered by at certain times. For example, as a child my dear old Nan used to say there was no point in talking to me when I had my nose in a book as you wouldn’t get a response!
That also brings us to an important question. What’s the difference between hearing and listening? Hearing is passive; you don’t need to choose to hear or do anything for it to happen, and it even goes on while you’re asleep. Hearing is simply the process of sound waves passing through your ear and into the brain where they’re translated into audible signals. Listening, however, is an active and conscious choice to place your full attention and focus on the person or thing that is producing the sound.
Think about the last time you were speaking to someone or telling them something and you just knew they weren’t really listening; their mind was obviously elsewhere and they were clearly not engaged with your conversation. How did you feel? Now think about the last time you talked with someone whose focus was completely with you, and who was invested fully in understanding what you had to say (even if they didn’t agree with it). How different was that experience, and how did you respond? I would hazard a guess that most of us fall in love during a true listening moment, when we feel ourselves basking and glowing in the warmth and connection of another’s total, undivided attention. We feel, in that moment, that nothing is more important or more valuable than what we have to share. We feel acknowledged, understood and cared for. When you’re listening, or being listened to, the whole of your being is involved and responds through the mind, body and emotions.
If listening is so beneficial to successful human relationships, it’s even more true of your spiritual life and your relationship with your Higher Self. How can you expect to develop intimacy and connection with your Higher Self and Source without regular and intentional listening? Guided meditations are helpful and necessary of course, but we can get carried away with the desire to attain higher and higher consciousness, to accumulate knowledge, and make it all about achievement. It can become a bit of a one-sided conversation, all about us and our questions, an all too easy way to avoid actually getting to know our Higher Selves.
I highly recommend creating space for meditation time with no agenda or goal other than to listen to Source. It can be enlightening to see what comes up when you don’t try to direct, but simply stay present to what’s here now, what’s flowing towards you from your Higher Self. Here’s how I do it:
- Light a candle. I find it’s better not to play music.
- Find a comfortable position, relax, and allow your heart to be open and available for whatever Source wants to communicate to you. I find it helps to drop my awareness down and inward for this kind of listening, into the womb/hara centre – for me, the physical representation of the void – rather than up and out through the third eye or crown chakras.
- Remember that you’re practicing listening, so your whole being is involved and the communication may come through physical sensations, feelings, thoughts, sound or images.
- Drop the need and tendency to judge or respond immediately to what’s being communicated. If feelings or thoughts arise, acknowledge them but then bring your attention back to just listening.
- Don’t be surprised if what you receive seems completely unrelated to anything else going on in your life right now, or what your ego might consider your main concerns. We’re talking about the Higher Self here, and this aspect of you knows what really matters for you and what you need for the deepest healing and transformation!
- Write down the messages you’ve been given (as you can’t reflect back your understanding of what’s been “said” as you would with a person).
Just ten minutes of intentional listening to Source every day will transform your life. You’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt just how deeply and completely you are loved. Not least of the advantages is that you come to recognise what your Higher Self’s voice sounds/feels/looks like so it’s much easier to know when you’re hearing it as you go about your daily life. Just imagine if you’d spent so many years listening to them that you could finish your Higher Self’s sentences. It happens with long-married, close couples who almost seem to talk as one person so why not?! It’s what we’re moving towards in the fifth dimension, becoming one with our Higher Self while remaining in physical form.
Of course you can apply this technique to your human and animal relationships, and to those with other dimensional beings such as nature spirits. But the most important relationship you can have is with yourself. Every minute you spend listening to your Higher Self is building intimacy, connection and appreciation between the aspects of who you are. It’s wholly communion.