In order to find new lands, you have to lose sight of the shore
The winter’s intense cold has descended on our garden. Last week we braved chilly northeast winds to prune the apple tree in preparation for its annual reawakening as the daylight lengthens incrementally. American robins and starlings have invaded our birdbath, creating a big mess with their copious droppings, aggressively forcing our resident juncos and warblers to wait their turn in the pecking order. Not much clean water is left for the small ones. The musical, cheery songs of the robins punctuate the winter stillness, as they sense the inward call of spring. Winter’s beckoning silence invites us to listen.
When we do stop our physical and mental motion long enough to actively listen, the little, outer self gradually quiets its incessant yammering. Thoughts slow. The Self can then step from its patient, background vigilance to lift us into a higher, more serene, centered space. True listening is as an act of allowance wherein dynamic emptiness arises as we open the inner ears and the mind in the heart. It is like bringing all the jangled parts of our selves back into a state of equilibrium and harmony. We are whole, if only for a few seconds. We rest. We enter the grid of listening. Presence is here.
Master souls and saints are masters of listening.
Most of us have found a suitable way in our daily rhythm to allow for breaks of meditative silence. Joel Goldsmith describes one such practical, effective method of communion in his many books on The Infinite Way teachings. To refocus our mind, he suggests beginning the period of meditation by “remaining in the Word,” which means to read and reflect on an inspiring passage from the world’s spiritual literature or any of the Sacred Scriptures. This means of cultivating mindfulness is an effective way to link with our true essence and the gates of creativeness that are thus opened.
As we read and contemplate such illumined words of Realization, our mind becomes peaceful and more emptied of outward concerns. We ponder Godly statements like, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” Psalm 118:24 is a idyllic choice: “This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Or, a statement of Truth, such as “God is a presence and infinite. There is no other presence or power. In God’s presence, nothing else can exist. God is health, supply, my place of dwelling, my sufficiency in all things.” Here’s a powerful one that facilitates this process of calming the mind: “My conscious oneness with God constitutes my oneness with all spiritual being and idea.”1
Even thoughts begin to recede in these moments of utter stillness, what Eckhart Tolle calls “heightened awareness, aliveness,” of internal expansiveness. We have done our part. The rest is the prerogative of Spirit. The actual experience of a God-moment becomes possible as we enter that place of absolute listening. The potential for such a Heavenly Contact exists all around us—all the time. It is always all around us—already present—for the ones who actively listen.
In this place, we realize that God is “on the field” with us, as Joel puts it. It is an act beyond our conscious control, because it is the prerogative of Grace, coming when It wills. Here, we are ready to take down specific words of guidance, the notes of a symphony, the chapters of a manuscript, the details of an invention, a scientific formula that has eluded us until now, or the image of the harmonious interplay of colors as inspiration for an upcoming painting. Grace has favored us, because we are empty of self.
It is when the statement in the mind becomes a feeling in the heart
The beautiful part is that, as you and I are raised up into such a blissful state, we raise up all others. Through the self-disciplined commitment to access the larger Grid of Listening, there are other tranquil minds already meditating in the divine network, waiting to be filled by Spirit. Thus, their every effort augments our every effort. Above all, we never have to do it by our self. Its blessings permit us to loosen up and let go, taking no thought for our body or life or work other than to surrender. We begin to notice gentle changes occurring in our life, such that guidance, protection, assistance, and resources come at the right moment, via the right person, in the manner perfect for us. It’s as if we are getting a personalized note from the Source of Life, addressed to our distinctive vibrational signature and requirements.
The prerequisite to the art of listening is dedication and devotion until it becomes a quality that is ceaselessly being as stored as part of our soul Treasure. Time spent in the silence of our spiritual center further aids whole-brain functioning, because it brings into operation the “right mind,” which is associated with vulnerability, compassion, openness, the present moment, and the larger picture of interconnectedness. Listening is like remembering to get bathed hourly, daily in a Light-filled shower. And God gives us superb reminders of Its Being, such as the Sun. The people of ancient cultures viewed the Sun’s trustworthy passage across the sky as the sign and symbol of Divine Presence, ever vigilant, watching over us under shimmering blue skies or dark cloudy ones. The magic is simple: be here now to listen.
So, here’s a meditative question to leave you with: How much of the time are you present enough to listen fully to the person who is speaking to you? If you’re not really focused in the present a good deal of the time but rather divided between two or more things clamoring for your mind’s attention, could this be an indicator of how present you are to your own self and the inner messages of guidance that are undoubtedly there? Do you even listen to your own stream of thoughts? If you’re not available to hear yourself, how you can you hear another? If one of the primary sources of stress stems from uncertainty, wouldn’t it be worth the sustained effort to develop a meditative practice in order to listen to your inner wisdom, which reveals more enlightened choices for you?
Susan Sarandon shared that what makes a great actress or actor is their trained ability to listen deeply to the other person speaking to them in a scene. On screen, it is this conscious art of listening that is so captivating and transformative!
The better we understand the choices we have been making,
• Growing Light: Imbolc (one of the annual, sacred Festivals of Light)
1. Joel S. Goldsmith. 2006. Living the Infinite Way. Acropolis Books.
Text © by Zane Maser, 2013. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. All rights reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.
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