“In order to know what is just in a person-to-person encounter, love listens. It is its first task to listen.”
― Paul Tillich
Becoming a good listener starts with learning to listen to ourselves. This means not only hearing our own authenticity, knowing our truth but also hearing our misguidedness and learning to discern between the two. Authenticity is not a fixed reference point and keeps changing its appearance. Self-deception is at least as clever and amorphous. There is no one way each will appear from moment to moment, so the only way to know them is to listen.
Once we have learned to hear ourselves, we can then set about the task of hearing others. To hear another is not simply to collect their words and then hold them to your preferred definitions. Truly listening to others is more like reading poetry. It is not a passive act but engaged participation, inquiry and willingness to allow another to present a vision to you. It arises from a deep wonder at the variety of perspectives and expressions that life has to offer.
Pushing & Pulling
In the softest, subtlest of arts, we learn to play with the contrariness of life. We learn to pull when we are pushed; we learn to push when we are pulled. We learn to yield when we are confronted, and we learn to express when we find the opening. We learn to deeply wait, ever adjusting to the pressures, but only until the lightning flash of the moment of truth arrives when our decisiveness can be effective. We ride the push and pull rhythm, and when we are truly aligned, we do both at once.
Staying present and engaged enough to be effective yet soft and receptive enough to be aware is being in the flow. When we dance in the currents, we must know when we are faced with a force that we cannot overcome. In such a situation, if we allow the current to take us instead of resisting it, our actions become infused with nature’s power.
A Lineage of Listening
To hear, we must be taught to hear, and to be taught to hear, we must be listened to. This explains the success and necessity of therapists and counseling of all kinds. Yet, we are not as hungry as we think to be heard. Our true hunger is to be able to listen. To intimately listen and hear the cosmos, our whole life and all that we are and all it is saying.
All awareness is ever doing is being aware. It is the ultimate experience of receptivity from which all that we experience arises. The mysteries of awareness are endless, but entering into them is never more than the simple act of being aware that we are aware. By relearning to listen to the listening, we are both heard by and hearing the essence of our being.
Suggested Divination Meanings
What is pushing/pulling on me, and where is it pushing/pulling me?
Is it more effective right now to push or to pull?
If I am still, where am I drawn to move? If I am moving, where can I find a still point?
How am I meeting this situation and is it allowing me to listen both inside and out?
What is present for me that I can only hear if I am still?
How can I meet this situation with strength but stay soft enough to remain present?
What practices do I have, or could have, that teach me the wisdom of push and pull?
How can I adjust myself to better communicate with others my intentions?
Am I giving myself the space to change from passive to active and back, as needed?
How are the pressures on me guiding me?