The Art of Listening

“Just listen,” is not as easy of a task as most make it out to be. Listening is an art, a skill that can be mastered.

How does one listen? I have always found it interesting that from a very young age, we have constantly been told to “listen” and to “pay attention” without ever being taught how to. Even as adults, we so often neglect the importance of what it truly means to listen.

Listening is an art, and trust me, it takes a lot of practice. There are a lot of aspects that come into play when listening to another speak.

Investing All of One’s Attention Into Listening

I would consider this to be the aspect of most importance when it comes to listening to another. Directing one’s attention towards one thing at a time requires intense focus, practice, and self-discipline (especially within the fast-paced society we’ve constructed for ourselves).

When listening to another, it is of utmost importance to give them all of your attention within that moment. If one is simultaneously attempting to complete a separate task, or if their mind is wandering the entire time, then their attention is not being fully invested in what the other has to say, and they are therefore not listening.

Being Present

Being present goes hand in hand with investing one’s attention into what the other has to say. If one is not fully present for the other, whether it be focusing on what is to come, or focusing on what has already passed, then they will not be able to comprehend the message that the other is trying to convey within that moment.

To be present with someone is to be grounded within the moment, to connect on a deeper level; A level deeper than the identities and mental-constructs of what we expect others to be. It is important to do this so one can accurately become conscious of what the other is actually trying to communicate, instead of formulating one’s own misinterpretation of what the other was originally intending to express. 

Maintaining an Open Mindset

If we hold onto the assumption that we already know what the other has to say, then we are also implying that whatever the other has to say is not important, or does not matter.

I always remind myself that regardless of what the other is trying to communicate, their feelings are valid, and they deserve to be heard. This does not mean that I have to agree with or believe everything that they have to say, but by no means does it suggest that I have to disregard their thoughts and feelings.

One cannot truly listen to what another is trying to communicate if they have already established a presumption in their mind of what they are going to say. If one listens with an open mind, letting go of all preconceived notions and expectations, then they will be able to effectively hear the message that the other is attempting to convey to them.

Acknowledging the Beingness in Another

Lastly, acknowledgement is so powerful. It is important to acknowledge the beingness and conscious aspect of the other as you are listening and present for them. The other is not simply an object existing only to serve, the other is a living, breathing, human being with thoughts, feelings, and perception just like you and me.

Once one practices becoming aware of the fact that how we treat others is equally as important to the way in which we treat ourselves, and that what others choose to express to us is equally as important to what we have to say,  we then are able to communicate from a place of compassion and higher awareness rather than placing the importance only on the points that matter to us and our own objectives.

The Power of Gratitude

To live in a constant state of gratitude is to be content with all-that-is.

Only when we make peace with all-that-is are we able to rise above, or overcome all that we consider to be negative in our lives. The situations within our own personal lives that we consider to be negative are only negative because we choose to perceive our circumstances through that lens. When we create a shift and recognize the reasons to be grateful for all that we have, we then begin to realize that where we are is actually pretty good!

Give to receive. That is law.

Whatever we give is what we shall receive. Whether it be love, judgement, fear, or gratitude; Whatever goes around comes around.

The power of living in a state of gratitude typically tends to be pretty underestimated. I’ve found this aspect of my life to be so important now that the last thing I say before I go to sleep and the first thing I say as soon as I wake up in the morning is “Thank you.

When we teach ourselves how to be thankful for all that we have, we also open ourselves up to allowing and receiving that same type of positive energy. If we only focus on the things that are “wrong” in our lives, then that focus will allow those types of experiences to continue. 

I know how easy it is to slip into the ego’s tendencies of complaining about all the things we claim to dislike in our lives. I know how easy it is to slip into thinking about how good our lives would be “If we just had…“, and I know how easy it is to slip into negative ways of thinking when things don’t go our way; But it is still our choice whether we want to focus on the positive or the negative.

It is, and always is, that simple of a decision.

Some ways that one can practice living in a constant state of gratitude are:

Starting a Gratitude Journal

This can vary from writing a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for every day, to keeping a journal dedicated to gratitude.

Saying “Thank You

This can be saying “Thank you,” right before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning, to simply becoming aware of saying “Thank you,” to people in general.

For Every Complaint, Find Gratitude

Every time you catch yourself focusing on complaints, become aware of at least one thing that you are thankful for. Make the shift.

 

These are just a few examples that work for me, but like always, the list can go on forever and it is important to follow whatever path works for you personally. All my love and best wishes, thank you.

 

The Art of Being

There is no trying, only doing.

The moment one “tries” to be a certain way is the moment they get lost in the process. 

The beauty of simply being is that one doesn’t have to try or do anything. This is what some would call, “going with the flow”. It is the art of intentionally transitioning into a state of allowing and acceptance.

When we try to act, or even think a certain way, we are also unconsciously establishing the implication that we have to do in order to be. But we are already complete as we are.

Although it is important to recognize that through this natural process, awareness is powerful. Being is not simply giving up and falling into a state of unconsciousness, in fact, when we are in a state of being we are becoming more aligned with our higher consciousness. When we allow things to flow naturally, it is important to do so with the presence of awareness so we also become conscious of the things that were once running behind the scenes as unconscious patterns.

So being is not simply a doing in order to gain a temporary sense of relief from our lives, it is a way of livingOnce we begin to live life in this constant state of flow, it creates the shift into becoming our natural state. There is no more trying, there is no more “If I could just achieve this, I will finally be complete,” there just is, and that is a beautiful thing.

Becoming Non-Reactive Towards Thoughts

To observe thoughts without judgement or criticism, only with the presence of love and compassion, is to become aware of the truth that thoughts have no power over the way we feel, unless we allow them to have that power through reaction and ego-identification.

Of course no one would consciously want to give their thoughts the power to cause them suffering, that is why it is unconscious behavior. When one brings their awareness to the fact that thoughts do not have the power to cause them suffering unless they react to them, they then become conscious of it, and it is then no longer an unconscious pattern.

Some get as far as becoming aware of the thoughts that arise, but then lose this awareness by falling into unconscious reactivity; such as convincing themselves of “I should not be thinking this, I am wrong for thinking this” or truly believing that the thought has something to do with who they are (ego-identification), thus inducing emotions such as sadness, anger, regret, or fear.

The thoughts that we tend to react to the most are usually linked to a negative false belief system that we have recurrently convinced ourselves to be true (even if it is far from what is true), which then becomes ingrained within our mental structure. This false belief then influences unconscious cyclical patterns of thinking that we assume we have no control over, but we do.

When we begin to sit with these thoughts and look into why they arise, instead of fighting against, resisting, and trying to avoid them, we can then bring our awareness to the root cause of why these thoughts make us feel the way they do, and make the shift from unconsciousness to consciousness.

Using Your Body as an Anchor for Presence

Your body is an anchor for presence.

Presence not only has to do with becoming aware of perception and the activity of the mind, but becoming aware of the energy within the physical body as well. Although our essence is the formless aspect of our being, we are also connected to and inhabit our temporary physical forms that exists here within this collective reality.

To learn more about this connection between the form and the formless, one can look into concepts such as ChakrasKundalini, and Tantra. (These are just a few examples that have helped me, but there are many more). 

It is important to treat our bodies as our temples, and remember to not neglect this aspect of ourselves.

Let go, and Let Flow

Resistance of the flow happens when one allows fear-based thinking and negative emotions to take control, which causes suffering. When one ceases to resist and allows the natural flow to occur within them, without judgement or retaliation, inner peace takes over.

To make inner peace is to cease the fighting within. To allow, to forgive, to accept, to love. There is a saying that we usually make ourselves own worst enemies, that is to say, we judge our minds and our own egos the harshest. The things that we tend to judge in others, whether we’re aware of it or not, is usually a reflection of how we feel about our own identities.

We all inherently have the desire to come from a place of authenticity, but that is a difficult task when most of don’t even know how to be honest with ourselves. This is not usually intentional, but we have trained ourselves so well to avoid thoughts and feelings that make us uncomfortable that, for most of us, it has become ingrained within our mental structure.

When we become aware of the reason behind why certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings arise, instead of falling into the self-constructed pattern of judgement and escapism, the path to freeing oneself of the suffering connected to these certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings then becomes apparent.

We then realize that these thoughts, feelings, and emotions only have the power to effect us because we allow them to, because we give it our attention, whether we’re aware of it or not.

To fall into identification with things like thought and emotion is to allow thought and emotion to determine and have power over how we feel, and this includes how we feel about ourselves. This is to resist the natural flow of what is, to resist all that is love. 

When we allow these things to flow through us without judgement or fear, only with the presence of love and acceptance towards anything that arises, we then allow it to come and go, to pass through us instead of holding onto it with our attention. We then learn how to let go, and let flow.

Practicing Unconditional Self-Love

When one begins to practice unconditionally loving them self, they are also nurturing a positive relationship between their mind, their body, and their being.

Unconditional love is not something that can be obtained, or a goal that is to be reached. Unconditional love is something that we as human-beings are constantly learning how to practice and cultivate within our own lives. 

So many of us often create limitations for ourselves by reinforcing self-constructed negative belief-systems, like patterns of self-doubt and self-judgement. In my personal experience, it feels much better to work towards letting go of such a mentality, and to give yourself a break.

One thing I have learned is the importance of making myself aware of the fact that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as I am able to perceive these mistakes as a lesson to learn from instead of a grievance with the power to hold me back from growing.

Instead of holding such high exceptions for ourselves, as if we’re not human-beings with imperfections, we should work towards being more compassionate and understanding towards ourselves, as we can then more genuinely express compassion and understanding towards others.

It is not selfish to prioritize yourself; if anything, once one practices loving them self unconditionally, they can then radiate that love to others,  and share it with whomever they decide to share it with.

You are already complete as you are, you don’t need any external validation to determine your self-worth, and that is truth. ♥

Patience, forgiveness, nourishment, making peace with being alone, a nice warm bath; self-love takes many forms, but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to what works best for one personally, based on their own personal life-experiences.

Trust in whatever feels right for you, and everything else will begin to fall into place.

Becoming Aware of Internal Thought Patterns

Anyone has the ability to become the observer of thought instead of identifying with thought.

When one is able to see thoughts for what they are, a programmed belief system existing only within one’s own mind, they are then over time able to reprogram these thought patterns in order to initiate a positive shift within themselves. If one does not become aware of their negative thought patterns, then these same thoughts continue on as a cycle of ego-based suffering.

Real positive change for oneself always begins on an internal level; but one can only make the decision to change for themselves, not anyone else. If one does not want to create change for themselves, or is not truly open to change, then they can never achieve this positive change until they make the choice (on their own) to create that internal switch.

Our egos love to convince ourselves that making such an internal switch is an impossible feat, when in reality that is not the case at all. Yes, it may take time to understand your negative  patterns and to form new positive ones, and I can personally tell you now it’s not always easy to dedicate oneself to such an internal change, but this is something that any human being can achieve; if they are willing to place enough importance on it.

So if you are contemplating a change within yourself, allow me to ask you this one question, the question that was at the root of all of the positive change I initiated within myself:

Do you think you have suffered enough?

(With all my love, this post was inspired by Eckhart Tolle)

 

Assume the Feeling of the Wish Fulfilled

UB Mind Projection

What we place in our imagination is more than just an empty thought, it becomes our reality.

When one assumes the feeling of a wish fulfilled, they are imagining the feeling of how it would feel if they already had the things that they desire. One can do this simply by asking themselves the question, “how would I feel if I already had it?”

Once one has a clear visualization of what they are striving for, they can then bring all of their attention towards envisioning that for themselves; focusing only on their highest expectations instead of the “how” it will happen, thus allowing the process of manifestation to unfold on its own.

And of course as I like to remind myself, infinite patience produces immediate results.

(This post was inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled)

Breaking the Karmic Chain of Action and Reaction

UB Karmic Chain

The ongoing cycle of suffering and violence can never be broken with more suffering and violence.

It is no surprise that violence brings nothing but suffering into this world; whether it be through war and abuse of power, or violence within our own homes. My mom always used to tell me, “hurt people hurt people,” a line which has stuck with me to this day.

When someone hurts us, our immediate reaction is usually to hurt the other person back in defense (although really one is just defending a mental construct that they identify with within their own mind, but that’s besides the point). This relates closely to the principle of the Law of Retaliation, or “an eye for an eye.” But like Mahatma Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Now this is not to say that we should take violence from others, but rather learn how to become nonreactive towards it. When we come from a place of non-reactivity, from a place of inner peace, we then hold the power to break the cycle of violence and suffering instead of contributing to it.  We then become the impact for positive change just by living in that state of mind.

If we all came from a place of peace and love, to promote progress instead of the “us” versus “them” mentality, we could achieve great things in this world, beautiful things. If we focused on building and bringing each other up instead of attacking and pulling each other down, so much unnecessary suffering could be avoided, and there would be no limit to the things that we could create in this world, as well as the experiences we could  create in our own lives.

So from the words of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” (click here to view the video)