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Be Still… and Know.

photo by Scott Liddell

How do we open to knowledge? How do we follow it? The answer to both questions is the same: we learn to listen.

Most of our lives are crowded – with the bustle of jobs, family, advertising, television, shopping, cleaning, cooking – making it feel quite difficult to listen to anything but the clamor. We are also riddled with a constant barrage of thoughts and emotional states, sometimes brought about by our very wish to know what it is we are supposed to be doing! All of this makes listening feel impossible. How do we hear the voice in us that is deeper than our day to day concerns?

By opening to listening, we open to the whispering of the sacred to our souls. We say to ourselves, and to the cosmos, “I seek to Know, and in seeking this knowledge, I begin here, within myself.”

When doing soul readings for clients, I will often say, “Take a breath. Let’s go a layer deeper…” This helps us both to open again, to listen again, and to have greater access to the information that is wanting to flow through. We start off by tuning in and listening, but often in the rush of vision and voice, we need to pause and drop again, into an even more acute place of hearing, sensing, and seeing.

Why do we run so hard from listening? It is the best way to get clear information that can be digested into knowledge, and yet many of us still decide we don’t need to show up to this portion of our work. We would rather be busy, or pile on excuses, or numb ourselves, anything except slowing down enough to take in what is really present. There are many reasons for this, of course. One is that some of us fear what will be revealed about our deep selves if we drop deep enough for emotional states to rise. Others fear that we will have to change our systems of blame and responsibility. Still others fear that everything will fall apart if we stop taking care of everything for the time it takes to slow down and just be with ourselves. Take a few moments right now to breathe, find your center, and ask yourself if any of the above scenarios – or any others – apply to your situation.

When I was teaching “Turn on Your (Psychic) Light” last weekend, we started with listening, with getting quiet inside, because there is no way to access intuition and psychic information with any consistency if we do not make space for it. We kept returning to this all weekend, because of course, as our personalities became activated, we forgot to remain anchored. We started to reach instead of opening. Reaching is the way the overculture teaches us to “fix” things. We are taught to fix problems starting from the outside in, rather than from the inside out. It is no wonder that there is little change of substance on a cultural level. To know ourselves first requires the recognition that we do not know. That is where we begin. So how do we come to know? We begin by learning to listen.

First, we make space. We must clear the air inside ourselves. Filling it up further, in our exhaustion, with internet surfing and television watching does not help. I’m not saying that either of these are intrinsically wrong, but I am saying that when we need space, and time, and rest, they serve only to fill us up more thoroughly with all the things we don’t need. Instead, what would our lives be like if we chose to take ten minutes to sit quietly and watch the birds in the morning, or to sit in front of a candle in the evening? And then further, what would our lives be like if, during that time, we stopped focusing on anything but sinking more deeply on our breath into ourselves, and from that place, opened out in order to practice listening with our whole Being?

I can guarantee, over time, our lives would change. Listening, really listening on multiple levels, makes it possible to get a sense, the glimmerings of knowledge, about what our desire is and where it wishes to lead us. Without this listening, confusion reigns. We cannot know if there is no space made for knowing. Information is not the same as knowledge, and these days, we have more information available to us than we could ever hope to assimilate. The only way out, is in.

Listening requires a commitment to cleansing: over time we clear our energy bodies, our thoughts, our emotions. This is different than “getting rid of”. Cleansing can also mean “re-ordering”. Cleansing our space is a good start. Clean the kitchen or sweep the floor. We needn’t wait until everything is perfect to settle in, but should do what we can, bit by bit. Then we can access whatever practices we have in order to even temporarily quieten or re-order our minds and heart. Even if at first we only open up 30 seconds of stillness within the ten minutes in which we make our attempt, that is 30 seconds we did not have access to before. And who knows? Tomorrow it may increase to one minute, and then five, then back to 30 seconds once again. All of this practice, including periods that feel like set backs, serve to train our psyche’s toward the knowledge that will lead us to desire.

And so today I breathe, as great winds buffet my house, clearing the energy all around me. As I write, and see clients, and later, cook dinner, I will return to listening. Over time, I will better come to know.

[This is part of a larger work on desire.]

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