Listen Up: Be Like Buddha
Just as meditation is the practice of becoming present to our lives as they are, not how we’d like them to be, the practice of genuinely listening to others is hearing and seeing how others are, not how we wish them to be.
How different would our world be if we all listened to each other? I mean, really listened. Let’s think for a minute how different our daily interactions and personal relationships would be. I’m not talking from an, oh yea, I hear you and all your drama place, I mean dropping any and every preconceived opinion, frame of reference, past history and cultural perspective you have about a person. Globally, spiritually and soulfully wiping the slate clean to see and hear the people of this world and the people right in front of your face.
I write from a place of alliance, suggesting this is something all of us can do more of. I’m in it with you. Are we willing to sit with another’s truth, receive the teaching of someone’s life journey without judgment, opinion or reaction?
I have a mantra I often say before I present to a group or have a difficult conversation. I have nothing to prove, I have nothing to fear and I have nothing to defend. I am better able to walk into the space hearing and seeing the other people for who they are whether they praise me or criticize me. I am able to create space without attachment to the outcome.
Ahhhh. What would this world be like if we all had the freedom to be whom we wanted to be and it didn’t trigger, offend or ignite another’s reactions?
What if we all completely owned our own shit and didn’t sling it all around in a cycle of crap? Invoke. React. Invoke. React. Deny. Avoid. Invoke. React. It’s a vicious cycle how we judge other people’s lives through our own filters of interpretation and bias that we often don’t even know what others are actually saying.
It’s so easy to embrace our own story, worn out, stained and tattered as it is, it still provides as much comfort as a favorite childhood raggedy blankie. We see people as we are from this perspective, not as they are.
I do this work for a living and every day I catch myself comfortably claiming my “rightness”, specifically with my spouse and children. I just returned from an eight day advanced yoga training where I completed my 500hr Registered Yoga Teacher certification. Four years of self-examination, personal discovery, professional training, obtaining tools through experiential exercises, workshops and writing, and the real work began within minutes of returning home to my family.
Not bad. But work.
You see, how many of us believe we’ve done the work, but when faced with challenging conversations and the real-ationships that triggers us most we reach for that warm, inviting blankie that makes them wrong and us comfortably right; we cling, we hold on, we jeopardize an opportunity to see people grow and change before our eyes because we’re stuck seeing the situation from our limited (uh-um comfy) perspective.
Over the past two decades leading groups and individuals in personal discovery work, I have often heard frustration from clients about how much they’ve changed and grown through their personal discovery work, yet to return to family systems, work environments and relationships that have not experienced the soul-opening, sometimes confronting and ego-shattering work they have. It can feel futile at times to feel the shift while else seems to be operating business as usual.
Don’t let this be an excuse to stop you from being the clearing in the forest. What the world needs now is YOU to transform conversations, to BE the change you want in your relationships, life and the world.
I experienced a strong opening in a morning meditation this past week that led me to the words:
à I am a radiant being. ß
No matter what I look like. No matter what I sound like. No matter what I do.
This message is an opportunity for me to keep rising above my opinions, judgments and limiting beliefs. My radiance is the light and the space for others to be clear and light, as well. I show up simply as myself and allow for others to do the same.
Your turn: get quiet, meditate (if you wish) and get clear.
What is your highest and greatest intention for your relationships?
Start there. The rest will fall into your life and the world around you. By being this greatest and highest Self, you will BE the change you wish to feel in the world.
Most of us are just trying to be heard, acknowledged, belong and be loved. It’s that simple.
Here’s how “to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without judgment, without an opinion.”
(Basically, how to be more like the Buddha)
- Take the approach of listen, pause, respond. If you want to react, judge, or defend, first pause. Then pause. And then pause, again before respond.
- Take the past out of the future; i.e, avoid bringing up the past in your current conversations. If you are not complete with the past with this person or situation, then take responsibility for your part and resolve the situation so you can move forward with a clear slate.
- Ask yourself “would I rather be right or happy”?
- Consider any conflict(s) you have in your life right now.
How could you take accountability with these people you’ve been making wrong, punishing or ignoring? What is this conflict costing you in your life?
- Create a community of friends who will be your accountability partners. They will call you out on your bull****. When you fall out of integrity to be your brightest and greatest self, they will challenge you to get back into focus.
- Have compassion for yourself when you breakdown or fall out of integrity with your commitment to listen.
- Let go of any attachment to the outcome when listening to others.
- Use this mantra: I have nothing to prove. I have nothing to fear. I have nothing to defend.
- Make a declaration about your self that embodies your highest and brightest Self. (like mine, I am a radiant being). Declare and repeat often.
As always, I love to hear from you. Write. Post. Share. Comment. Skype.
Join our community and write your declaration on our Facebook page. I am a ______________________________.
The more you declare, the more you embody and the more you empower the change!
As I get ready to embark on a ‘round the world journey, I’ll have a lot of time to practice my generous listening with different people from around the world, as well as my family, as we will be spending A LOT of time together! I’ll keep you all posted…
Even though I’ll be on the go for the next 10 months, I’m always available online for you! Don’t be shy!