We hear fine, but the ability to listen is a different matter.
Hearing is simple.
It doesn’t require much effort and we don’t have to worry about it, think about it, or do anything about it. We just simply hear what we want to hear.
Throughout the day, and into weeks and years, various sounds compete for our attention. Thousands of tiny little beeps, vibrations, resonances, voices, whispers, and bells attract our gaze and hold us captive.
One becomes louder than the other. One is more rhythmically pleasing than the next. One is familiar. The other is not.
Noise separates us from ourselves.
Please don’t misunderstand me, hearing is very important, but listening, even more so.
Listening requires a quiet mind, because a quiet mind does not simply absorb the onslaught of noise, it goes deeper than that.
A quiet mind is capable of tremendous focus, and for a very long time. It is proficient in hearing everything, yet, like a fine surgeon, it can attune to any one specific thing, at any time.
A quiet mind can read faces. Sense loneliness. It knows when to say something and when to bite its lip, and keep quiet.
It senses tears. Knows when to push and pull. Knows when to stay close, and when to keep its distance.
A quiet mind can stand alone, amid the daily chaos; unfazed, undivided, empathetic, and calm.
We were all born with the ability to hear, but it is up to each of us to develop our ability to listen.
A moment of silence every day is a good start.
A few minutes of quiet meditation or prayer, perhaps not while you’re driving, of course, is a good beginning.
A good book is another, as long as the subject matter, elevates the soul, instead of burdening it with even more noise.
Writing helps as well.
Writing has the ability to exercise the mind.
It forces you to choose the meaning of your words very carefully, instead of mouthing countless ready-made phrases that you have come to use every day, which in the end signify nothing.
We need to listen for the details.
Our whole life derives its meaning from seemingly insignificant little details.
You should learn to ask a lot of questions. Like little inquisitive children, relentless in their pursuit of meaning. Relentless in their happiness.
We need to listen, but it will never come without practice.
Without it, it is only noise.
We need to learn to listen and there is no better day than today.
Start right now or at your earliest window of opportunity.
Develop your skill of listening.
Find meaning and happiness.