On Facebook today, Gregg Braden reminds us that when you rearrange the letters in the word “listen”, you’ll find “silent”. What this tells me is to remember that the act of listening requires silence – and not just silence in my speaking. I must have silence inside my head. For starters, this means I need to stop formulating a response while I pretend to listen to what came after the first few words of the other person’s dialogue.
Further, I’ve noticed my mind has a tendency to go off on a tangent and even though there is sound coming out of the other person, that sound is not reaching my conscious awareness. It’s disconcerting when I suddenly notice this. I see their lips moving, but the sounds I hear are those of the conversation going on in my own head. It’s then that I gratefully acknowledge that I’ve come back before they stopped talking or asked a question which would surely lead to embarrassment. More often than not I admit my faux pas and ask them to repeat themselves. Other times, I just bring myself back and hope I didn’t miss too much.
Regardless of what form my non-listening takes, it means my mind and my mouth are not being silent and distracting me from being fully present with the person I’m sharing with. Monkey mind it’s often called and I know the solution for it – MEDITATION. Sitting in silence is so important to me that without it, I’d be lost. My time in silence to really listen is how I train my monkey mind to take a break and to come fully in the present moment where there is no past and no future. Only the gift of now and the presence of the other.
Being able to listen in the now is a good life skill to possess and I don’t think it’s an accident that its letters also spell silent. They go together.
Do you notice your own monkey mind? How do you control it? Or do you?