Pure Listening

Monday, May 23, 2011

I was practicing 'pure listening' today. Contrast with 'active listening' (where you are pouring energy into what someone is saying, fully of sympathy, dancing to their tune) and 'negative listening' (where you are sucking energy from someone while they speak, ignoring them, caught up in your own thoughts).

Pure listening means staying in your own awareness of what is happening (like a mirror) and even imagining that the person speaking to you is part of your own personal experience, inside your field of awareness. This way, you neither add or subtract anything, but the person will feel themselves drawn into a space where nothing is missing. No need to perform, to convince, to get something, to throw away anything. Silence can come, half a sentence can come. Makes no difference. No judgment. Just two things: wisdom (that "I" am really nothing) and love (that "I" am actually everything). We help dissolve the other's suffering with the wisdom that it is a construction that doesn't change their completeness, and with the love that wants to hold them in that space where their constructions melt like snowflakes falling on the warm water of non-interference.

All part of the view that I think indigenous folks long ago lived daily, which is that all of us inside, in that space of blissful awareness, are already and always complete.

If this is so, a nice question to ask yourself whenever you encounter someone, no matter their external presentation, health or illness, friendliness or otherwise, an interesting question to ask is: 'do I see them as already complete?'

This is also a good question to ask of oneself.

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