While spring cleaning this year, I came across a drawer full of journals from years past. One of them caught my immediate attention. It was from a retreat in 2010, What You Practice Is What You Have—A Guide to Having the Life You Want.
At that time I was struggling to make a decision regarding retirement. Would I stay in a lifelong career that I enjoyed and which had supported me financially? Or, would I take another leap and retire a bit early so I could pursue other interests? The Guide offered Recording and Listening as a daily practice. When I returned to work, I walked every day at lunchtime and recorded and listened as if I had made the decision to continue in my current work position. The next week I walked and recorded and listened as if I had made the decision to retire. When the two weeks were over, there was clarity. Six months later I retired with no regrets whatsoever.
When I relax, let go and surrender to Wisdom, Love and Compassion everything changes. I am free to be with Life. I am in Love with Practice. I laugh and delight in the joy of being. There is nothing to change. In that way, I become a ‘do-nothing’ and experience the lightness of being.
Recording and Listening is indeed a way in which we practice kindness and compassion for the practitioner. What this profoundly powerful Practice has given me is the HOW of ending suffering. I have learned, and continue to learn, to be still whenever I am confused or struggling, to attend to the breath in the moment wherever I am, to gently direct and redirect attention, to listen again and again to that which animates, to recognize that there is always something to witness, and there is nothing to renounce.
The process of wholeheartedly listening from presence is dropping egocentric karmic conditioning and self-hate at EVERY opportunity. This is a sure way to happiness. Awareness Practice, waking up, and ending suffering. How wonderful is that!
What Life is saying to you is, “Be with me now.” Gently, that still small voice is saying, “Be with me now. Be with me when you’re identified with ego. Be with me when you have a migraine. Be with me when you’re feeling upset. Be with me when you’re sad. Be with me. Always be with me, whatever is happening.”