Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Listening to What Echoes in the Heart

Several summers ago, I was relaxing in front of the TV on a Sunday evening when out of nowhere a cricket flew through my window and landed on my bookcase.  Now for those of you in the suburbs or countryside, this might not seem like a big deal, but for a city dweller, living in a third floor walkup, this is a very rare occurrence to say the least.

As the cricket played on for the rest of the evening, I turned off the TV, made sure he was out of reach of my cat (who was growing increasingly excited), and quietly listened to his song with my full attention.  I remembered falling asleep as a child to the sound of crickets in the summertime and took this moment to fully appreciate the little guy’s heartfelt solo performance.

The wisdom of cricket reminds us to listen with our hearts, to feel the vibration of what is being said, and let the sound echo what soul is expressing through our natural sensitivities and intuition.  With fast paced modern communication styles, information often passes through as just words and the full experience of what is being communicated gets lost in the flood of data.  Taking the time to listen with our hearts has almost become a luxury.

As part of the training for the reiki master program this year, we did an exercise on reflective listening through body language.  Instead of repeating back what the person was saying, we tuned in to how they were holding their body and the rhythm of their breath.  Just by finding ways to subtly experience the other person’s physicality in the conversation, we were able to listen with deeper a understanding of what was being expressed and experience more compassion for the other person.

Listening from the heart instead of the head doesn’t come easily in this day and age, but when we get the opportunity to do so, it becomes a gift for both parties involved.  The speaker feels heard and the listener receives an expanded awareness that opens the heart to a deeper state of compassion.  The art of listening in this manner is cultivated over time and through practice and not just when we are actually listening to someone.  When we sit to meditate, practice reiki, yoga or tai chi, play a musical instrument, dance, or engage in any other activity that requires us to be fully present, we are deepening our ability to quiet the mind and tune in to the sensual and intuitive sensitivities that enable us to become better listeners.

Summer is the time when Mother Nature is at her peak of expression with both the animal and plant kingdoms fully awake and active due to the extra warmth and daylight.  This provides a wonderful opportunity to quiet the mind and center the heart to receive the messages she offers us whether they come from a small cricket, the sound of waves at the beach or a gentle breeze.