It is listening that keeps us young and flexible. And it is not listening that ages us and makes us stagnant and unyielding.
To listen to another is the first doorway to the flow of love between you.
To listen to oneself is the doorway to the infinite flow of love within and between all things.
For us to truly listen, the first thing we have to do is to make ourselves quiet. Noise is all around and inside us. There is a cacophony of worries and doubts and fears that left to their own devices are self-perpetuating and delight in the loudest of volume.
The best and really the only way to truly silence the noise is via concentration. Just as in a crowded noisy room, we can concentrate and listen to the conversation we are focused upon, so it is we can concentrate and put our attention on whatever we choose.
This is the best way to listen to another person. With our full attention and complete awareness. Have you noticed how poorly you listen when you are not concentrating, perhaps thinking about a worry or fear and at the same time trying to listen to your friend.
It is also the most powerful way to listen to ourselves. Only it is very difficult for most of us to know what to concentrate on, so that we may listen.
This is what meditation is. It is above all else, a listening. Whilst in prayer perhaps, we speak, in meditation, we listen.
To listen normally, we take notice of words and sentences and derive meaning. In meditation, it may be that we feel those words and sentences intuitively. But the listening we experience in meditation is also much broader that just words or sentences, sometimes it is a knowing, or a creative vision that we hear, an expanded sense of awareness, sometimes it is the most powerful silence that we need to listen to.
Some call this our conscience or inner voice that we listen to. In meditation, we feel this voice is the voice of our heart.
99% of the time the heart will be about states of love and being in the here and now, whilst the ego and mind will be about what we are doing, the past and the future.
Finally in meditation, we must feel that is not our mind that is concentrating, but our heart. When we use our mind, we struggle and fight. When instead, we are able to feel that is our heart that is concentrating, then our meditation becomes effortless.
Take a moment to focus on your breath.
Watch the inflow and outflow.
Listen to every sound. Every external noise. Just notice them. Not to analyse them but to let them be. To realize the multitude of things going on around you.
Then feel that your breath is instead an energy flow, in and out of your heart. A flow of love in and gratitude out.
Let your heart effortlessly and instantly focus your attention.
Then concentrate more and more with all of your heart upon your heart. Ask your inner voice, your conscience to guide you. Ask it to speak to you.
Then watch your thoughts. Discern which is the dialog of the noise and which is the voice of the silence. If it truly is your heart, then you will get a feeling of joy and you will notice that whatever is being said or felt will increase the flow of love in your life.
Your heart will speak messages of being in the now, in love and oneness, your ego will be all about another time and place and the things that you are doing.
Listen in this way for as long as is comfortable.
Ten or fifteen minutes is fine.