So here I go. Listen, that is what I was told to do recently in my time with the divine. This was ridiculous. I am a therapist, paid to listen to people from all walks of life to help them navigate life’s challenges. I have spent my whole life listening or so I thought.
According to Merrium-Webster, to listen means to pay thoughtful attention and action that we do consciously. So then what does consciously mean, I hear it all the time. It feels like the new buzz word to be conscious or consciousness. Conscious is defined as: in a way that involves a particular thing, exists or is present, in a way that is determined or intentional. It felt like a rabbit hole I could get lost in if I tried.
I realized that this was meant to help me understand the deeper meaning of listening. I had not listened to the most important sounds that I could, the sound of my own internal voice. It has become more clear as I work with people, they too are not listening to themselves but rather to others, society, culture or their families and therefore feeling disconnected, depressed and alone.
Listening to Ourselves
It has come to my awareness that we are not taught to listen. In a world full of noise, it is all vying for our attention and headspace. We hear thousands of sounds everyday that fill our ears and minds but we still do not actually consciously listen. We are not taught to listen to ourselves. To listen to yourself would mean to make yourself a priority, to slow down and allow moments of silent contemplation. I think we are scared to do this, to stop, slow down and to listen to our inner voice.
Most people seem to do the opposite, make themselves so busy, or mindlessly cover up that voice that they have no clue what is actually happening inside. We are afraid to admit that we are not ok inside or don’t want to hear or feel what is happening on the inside so we continue to cloud ourselves by hearing what’s happening on the outside. The reality is “as within, so without” based on Hermetic philosophy.
If we are unable to listen to the inner voice we also aren’t truly able to listen to others. Listening to ourselves is a practice, a learned skill that can create beautiful awakenings and growth. To listen to ourselves, means to intentionally take time to slow down, go within, and attune ourselves to listening to what our inner voice is speaking. Listening to our bodies and our hearts. Hearing what guidance is coming in, listening for the answers to life’s questions or responses to spoken prayers. To listen internally means to allow ourselves to feel the feelings that may be arising with compassion and understanding that they are there to inform us and teach us.
If we can learn to fully listen to what is going on inside with attention and empathy, we can feel much more like whole beings with access to guidance to all of life’s questions and challenges. When we can listen to ourselves, we can then listen to others without interpretation. This is the principle that I believe Jesus was teaching when he said the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. We can only love or listen to our neighbor to the extent that we love and listen to ourselves. When we can listen to our neighbor, without judgment and defense but with unconditional love, then we can truly hear and know ourselves and our neighbor as we truly are.
May you give yourself the most valuable Christmas gift this holiday season-the gift of YOU!