Namaste dear readers. I apologize for not being present these past few weeks. After my last post on 10/5/12, I dove head first into intensive art show preparations. When I am in that mode my commitment to blogging often falls to the side. That is what happened here. My mindfulness practice was focusing on creating art. And, quite frankly, I am not very skilled at multi-tasking any more. When I direct most of my energy to a specific project, it stays there.
So, let’s begin again and pick up where I left off. Our last mindfulness practice focused on the wind. This week we are asked to practice listening.
This Week’s Practice: Listen Like A Sponge
Oh I do enjoy this practice, especially when our lives can be dominated by technology, especially mobile phones & iPads.
With this practice, we are asked to listen to other people as if we are sponges, soaking up whatever the other person has to say. This means to not just give someone your full attention when they speak. It also means that you not form any responses in your mind until a response is requested or needed.
Uh oh, that means keeping your mind quiet when someone is talking to you. Something that does not come naturally to most of us.
Seriously, how often does your mind wander when someone else is talking to you? Be honest. You might be thinking about the speaker’s hair cut, the clothes they’re wearing, or how you wish they’d speak faster because you need to get home.
And with mobile phones and iPads, how often do you find yourself twiddling around with either device when someone is talking to you? Are you really giving them your full attention if you’re also reading your email?
Listening like a sponge is also known as “absorptive listening.” You have to make the mind and body still.
It is quite normal for most of us to “check out” when someone else is talking. Observe yourself when someone talks to you. How many times does your mind drift? Make a mental note of it. Then try to catch yourself when your mind drifts and bring your thoughts back to the speaker. You can be aware of your own thoughts but try not to be disturbed by them and let them take over.
Consider as well how you feel when someone is listening to you like a sponge. How does it feel to be witnessed by someone else?
This week, listen when someone is talking to you. Truly listen. Absorb their words like a sponge. Give them your undivided attention.
Reflection: We shall practice listening so attentively that we are able to hear what the other is saying-and also what is left unsaid. We know that by listening deeply we already alleviate a great deal of pain and suffering in others. -Buddhist recitation for invoking compassion