I’m exploring Listening in my Recording and Listening practice.
When I practice the “I love you, tree; do you love me,” when I turn attention to Awareness, when I turn attention to the space between the thoughts, a way that occurs to me to describe the experience is listening. It’s not listening for anything, not listening for sound; it’s listening with the whole being, listening that’s open, full attending, nothing but receptivity. It’s an orientation of more interested in “you,” Life, than in the ego “me” in the head.
While doing the two-handed Recording and Listening exercise the other day, I was listening back to the right-hand recording and noticed a different kind of “listening” happening. I felt self-conscious. I felt like I was being watched, watched to see “what I’d come up with” to say in response. I was identified with a someone listening to a someone. There was an orientation hiding under there of feeling like I had to do something to get the “her” I was listening to from where she was to where she should be, from separate from the divine to worthy of getting to the divine. The line from the St. Francis prayer dropped in: “Let me seek not so much to be understood as to understand.” I saw that I was trying to be “understood” as a capable, competent practitioner able to respond well to the left hand, instead of seeking to understand.
It occurred to me: listen to “her” like I listen to a tree, from that “place” of open, full listening, listening with the whole being. Not listening for anything, not the “listening” I’d just seen that goes quickly from the words being heard to the mind. I started to reflect the words on the recording internally, to keep attention on listening, to keep attention on understanding. Not to understand something, I realized; it’s not a subject understanding an object, it’s moving from being identified with a someone listening to a someone, to the Divine listening to itself. The experience of listening became a falling in love: nothing to fix, no one to change. Unconditional Love.