Mindfulness of Listening
A rather beautiful metaphorical description on what it is to listen deeply and with attention to another person and to one´s own, internal landscape.
You can access the full article at the Insight Meditation Center website.
The great value of mindfulness practice can be found in the ordinary activities of daily life. It is not necessary to engage in extraordinary pursuits to realize the full depth and breadth of Buddhist practice. Listening is one of the ordinary, daily activities that can serve as a powerful vehicle for cultivating mindfulness, insight, and freedom. Dharma practice is to develop the ability to “see clearly;” listening well is a way to do this. Through listening we can better appreciate what others are saying and gain greater self-understanding.
Imagine yourself standing in front of a great wall stretching far to the right and far to the left. In the middle is a closed door. You open the door, and step through. On the other side of the wall is a vast sky and a great panorama of mountains and valleys receding toward a far distant horizon. From this view you appreciate the great vastness and spaciousness of the world. Then you turn around and step back through the door to the other side of the wall. Standing on the other side you see that here is a vista of a vast ocean sprinkled with beautiful islands. In fact, on either side of the door there is an equally wide, large world to be explored and studied.
Listening can be understood as the door between two vast worlds, the world outside of yourself and the world inside yourself. The first is what your ears can hear. The second is what is going on in your body, mind, and heart as you listen. To practice mindful listening is to reside in the doorway between these two worlds so you can be attentive and wise in both
Image courtesy of Benson Kua