Listening in to voices that matter, including yours.
<At what stage in a conversation does your mind start anxiously pacing to jump in and say something? At word seven, I dare. For 3 days, I will practice mindful listening — I will not interrupt during a conversation and I will not respond unless asked to.>
Far too often, the ones we stop listening to are the ones that matter to us the most. Our parents. Our children. Our spouses. So, for my mindful listening challenge I decided to focus on them.
Over the past 3 days, I have attempted to cut out distractions and be fully present to listen to them. Phone tucked away. No multi-tasking tricks in the mix (as much as I *believe* I can pull it off, the fact is, I can’t — no one can). So its all ears, all through. However, this approach was at loggerheads with trying to share the experience via this blog. Mostly because a big part of the creative writing process is constant involvement. Simply put, I cannot be ‘mindful listening’ while trying to blog about it too! So I decided not to even attempt writing during the 3 days but only list the highlights that have stayed with me till now.
- Listening to my 2 yr old breathe ever so softly in his sleep while reading a book on the sound of breath (‘Soham’ by Swami Omkar) — the universe has a way of creating beautiful coincidences.
- Listening to my maid as she broke into tears mourning the loss of her beloved aunt and the impact to the two teenage sons.
- Listening to my dad rant about how RWAs are ineffective due to poor participation of residents and how our generation needs to be more involved in their neighbourhoods before trying to solve world hunger!
- Listening to my 2 yr old narrate his first story — he goes “once upon a time… there was one uncle.. uncle road pe tha… and lot of vehicles bhi tha….” — a sign that we need to get out of Bangalore soon!
- Listening to my mom excitedly share excerpts from a book she is reading right now on how the enlightened souls listen even when no words are spoken — that sounds a like a whole new level of mindfulness!
- (If you’re wondering why my husband is missing from this list — well I am tempted to say that some conversations are best kept private and pique your curiosity; but the honest truth is that he is not in town and in such times our phone conversations are typically limited to mundane essentials and our son’s latest adventures.)
Isn’t it lovely to listen in at times? I sure felt so and invite you to do the same. Keep the phone away, turn off the TV and just listen. Listen in to voices that should matter to all of us (if you’re wondering why — read this) as they share their stories of change, of freedom and hope, and courage. Come, make a difference to their journeys.
PS: I also used these three days to pay attention to your voices! I invited suggestions for my 10th topic and will share the responses on a separate thread. Stay tuned!