mindfulness

On Listening

On Listening Blog Post Image.jpeg

One Saturday evening, months before the election, I got into a cab in New York City and almost immediately, the driver asked me—straight out— “who are you voting for?”  I told him.  Then I asked him, “who are you voting for?”  And thus, we began.  I was voting for Hillary Clinton and he was voting for Donald Trump.  It was a half-hour long ride and we had the most respectful conversation about the election.  I don't know if our conversation convinced him to change his vote.  I know he didn’t convince me.  Actually, we weren’t trying to convince each other; we were talking and listening.  When I arrived at my destination, we both thanked each other for such a respectful conversation in which we both really listened to each other and didn’t make each other feel wrong.  I know that I felt energized; I believe he did too.  I had learned something: another point of view.  I also felt really listened to.  That kind of conversation changes people.  It is transforming.  It connects rather than separates, we become a “we" rather than a "we vs. they."

We live in very challenging times.  We did before the United States’ presidential election, and now even more so.  One way to grow and heal a divided country, a divided family, or a divided self, is to develop strong muscles to respectfully heart-mind-body listen to people—especially to those who have a very different point of view.  We can also listen to ourselves: our inner conflicts, confusions and reactions.  Such listening to all points of view, all parts, and all sides heals great divides.

Listening can be learned.  We can increasingly learn to stand in a place where we listen to all.  We can use all of our tools: Mindfulness, Meditation, Prayer, Self-Talk, Breathing, Awareness.  So often we want to avoid, not feel, because it hurts too much, or causes too much anger.  We would rather react and rush into action.  Listen with respect and hold everything from love, from compassion without judgment.  In this spirit, one thing I decided to do after this election is to listen, read, and watch programs that have very different points of view from my own and the “liberal bubble.”  I want to deeply hear other points of view, like that of the cab driver, and know that listening like this is critical for healing great divides.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is soon upon us. Can we set some ground rules that we choose to follow with our family and/or friends?
* No yelling.
* No interrupting.

* No blaming or making someone feel wrong. 
* Listen with an open heart-mind-body, as best as you can.
* Speak and share from a place of respect.

IT WILL GET EASIER! When we begin listening this way, starting NOW and moving into Thanksgiving, it can become a time when we are muscle-building a very important shift in communication, conversation and relationship. The more we do this and spend heart-respectful time with each other and ourselves, the more WE will have the courage to meet each other AS OURSELVES.

 

"Perhaps things will get worse and then get better.  Perhaps there’s a small god up there in heaven readying herself for us.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  Maybe many of us won’t be here to greet her, but on a quiet day,
if I listen very carefully,
I can hear her breathing."

—Arundhati Roy

 

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me and share your point of view.

 

The Evolution of Humanity

Last Friday evening I was at a dinner party and something a guest said pierced my heart deeply:  what our world needs is the "Evolution of Humanity."  

 In these three beautiful words I heard the music of a dream that I have be longing for since childhood. I often talk about taking the journey from fear to freedom and helping others do the same. The evolution of humanity is this, but seven levels deeper.  

 Many of us, from all walks of life, and nature herself, so say the senior scientists, are ready for a quantum leap in evolution. 

 The dinner guest was thinking of his children and grandchildren and the world we have created and are leaving for them.  There are other reasons.  Some of us are “beyond success,” according to the American dream.  We have it all-the money, the materialistic goods, yet long for something beyond these limits of success. Some of us are still caught up in chasing the American Dream, yet we feel that something is missing. Perhaps we knowingly or unknowingly wish to learn how to live a life of peace, self-love, and compassion. We want to heal our judging selves that destroy, instead of build. We long to speak our truths and have conversations that are true dialogues. We see the problems that our people and our earth are facing. We want to end war and live in inner and outer peace. Some of us are fortunate to feel passionate about doing work that we love, knowing that if we follow that stream, we will be giving our best to the world.

 The Evolution of Humanity will not come if we only feel depressed, outraged and pessimistic and if we do not hold the vision for an evolved humanity. It will not come if we keep exhausting ourselves from an overloaded “To-Do list.” 

 We are the seeds for a new earth. We can choose to work to evolve. There are many levels at which we can do the work. My focus has always been from the Inside-Out.  

 The Evolution of Humanity has been spoken of by many teachers. Here are some examples, recommended for further exploration:

  • Ekhard Tolle's A New Earth

  • Teilhard de Chardin’s The Divine Milieu

  • David Spangler’s Revelation; The Birth of a New Age

  • Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul

  • Michael Brown’s The Presence Process

  • Marilyn Ferguson’s The Aquarian Conspiracy

 

Krishamurti spoke of it this way:  

“And as we are — the world is. That is, if we are greedy, envious, competitive, our society will be competitive, envious, greedy, which brings misery and war. The State is what we are. To bring about order and peace, we must begin with ourselves and not with society, not with the State, for the world is ourselves … If we would bring about a sane and happy society we must begin with ourselves and not with another, not outside of ourselves, but with ourselves.”

 

 

What can we do to evolve ourselves?  What can we do to bring out the best in ourselves? We can make a conscious choice to Do Less and Be More.  It can be helpful to focus on one transformative goal that speaks to you.  Here are some ideas:

  • Become Breathe Aware and develop a breathing practice

  • Connect with silence

  • Be Aware of our bodies

  • Be Conscious of self-talk and feelings

  • Connect with the earth

  • Share in our communities

  • Read for our souls

  • Develop mindfulness

Starting small is a great way to ensure success.

These practices can help us go forward into the light of day from a more centered place. The more each of us commit to the Evolution of Humanity, by working on ourselves from the Inside-Out, the more we will take action to heal the world.

We will see the Evolution of Humanity manifest organically and gently.

I can hear you protesting to me, "But Lynda you don't understand.  I have no time for all of that.” And I hear my mother saying to me, many a time,“Lynda you always find the time to do the things you want to do!” How right she was and still is.