How often are your thoughts, emotions, body and spirit in alignment? When you’re having dinner with your family, friends, or co-worker, are you really present, of course your body is, but where are your thoughts? Are you listening without hearing, because your mind is scrambled with thoughts of work, getting the laundry done, finances and what’s on the agenda for tomorrow?
Whatever it is you’re doing, or whomever you’re with, are you really there? Are you fully participating in conversation, or is your body an empty shell with nobody home, because your thoughts are else where? Do you half listen and find yourself tuned out rather than tuned in?
Minute to minute, we’re bombarded by sounds and noise from the world outside our eyes; add to that our own inner chatter and it’s no wonder we find ourselves lost in conversation, forgetting what we were just going to say, or not hearing what someone is trying to tell us. We can’t be tuned in and tuned out at the same time.
Listening is a difficult task to begin with. We each have these little critters in our heads competing for attention; distracting us from being here now. I think of listening as an art form that requires focus, attention, presence, and being fully in the moment. When you think about it, the present moment is all we ever have, yet we spend so little time being there.
You cheat yourself and others when you allow your harried pace and constant mind chatter to run interference with the peace and stillness that living from spirit offers. Your life doesn’t have to be a race to that next meeting, convention, exit sign, or the illusory finish line. You are not in competition with anyone other than yourself. Don’t strive or drive yourself into finishing first; instead, stop, pause, take a deep breath, look around, listen, and be present in your life and the lives of others.