I write early in the morning, it is 7.15am and I am up in the air among the clouds, with a warm fuzzy feeling towards humanity. A group of children belonging together in a large family surround me. And it is a wonderful feeling – to be part of their unspoiled wonder at the sights of the skies – at the clouds and the sun. their simple acceptance of each other. One kid has brought out his bunny from his backpack to share the journey of the skies with him. I find it moving. When do we lose this innocence! ?
I had a warm fuzzy feeling last night, an outpouring of love towards everyone. Maybe it is because I’m starting to show up and pay attention. I’m taking a pause in between the drama of my own life, to actually realize that I’m just one person in this play, and not always the main one. (sometimes I still am the lead – which is fun too 🙂 ).
Phillip Moffitt talks in his book, ‘dancing with life’, about renunciation practices: one of which is renunciation of the need to be the center of the drama. It is a powerful practice. And a quiet one. It sneaks up on you: the realization that maybe all of life isn’t just about you, and that you don’t always have to be the center of the frame. And it delights. Suddenly, your world becomes much wider than it ever was.
At odd moments during conversations over the last few days, I found myself pausing, and not saying everything I wanted to say, and instead listening. What is this person in front of me about, and what is he/she saying. pausing for a moment and really listening with undivided attention. And somehow that feels amazing.
when you really listen, there is no longer a separation between you and the other. At that moment at least, you are absorbed into one unit, connecting from the soul. And when you connect, you really start seeing the other person. You can no longer ignore the human condition, the joys, the travails. And then how can compassion not arise? when we start seeing what other people go through, their own lives, troubles, joys, courage, it is uplifting. It makes one proud of being part of this human race, of belonging here.
My dear friend Stella once pointed out: all we want is to be heard, to be really listened to, to be appreciated for who we are by others. So why can’t we practice giving it once in a while? My thought last week contemplating on generosity was this: our attention is one of the best gifts we can give others. an inexpensive and priceless gift.
So I listened. When I found my attention drifting in a talk about imaging cells, I brought my attention back to the person. This guy had prepared this talk and he was here. Right now, could I give him my undivided attention and allow him to be heard ?
There is gentleness to listening. a relaxing into it. A commitment that there is nothing else I would rather be doing right now than being here with you and listening to what you have to say. and communicating without words that I love being here and being able to do this. It is about being present.
May we pay attention.
With love, S.