My ancestors and elders always reminded me to slow down when everything seems to be on fire! Gradually, when I started learning the true meaning of slowing down, I realized that the invitation from my ancestors and elders was simply to listen, to get away from the hustle and bustle of the space, and to honor my body. Listen to what I am inside and what is outside of my body.
As I listen to the sounds, the sensations, feelings, and my thought, I connect not only with my own body, but I reach out to the wisdom of my ancestors. We are from our ancestors! We are our ancestors; either from our family or from our mission or a spiritual tradition.
Before you read further, take a moment to look at yourself. Who do you see in yourself? Try to attend to your thoughts, desires, and passion, and notice who comes to mind. Notice what you notice, with all the compassion and nourishment you are able to gather.
The moment I started to write this blog post, I noticed that my heart was beating fast but is gradually slowed down with my long breaths, my feet slowly reached for the floor, and my diaphragm slowly followed her rhythmic pace, expanding and contracting, opening and closing. In this moment, as I sense my sensations, it occurs to me that it is because of my ongoing experiential journey of deep listening, facilitated by meditation and contemplative practices. It is in that moment, I find a soft voice of my grandmother to take a pause, and to attend to my body.
Listening is a practice, just like swimming, biking, or walking. We may start listening by simply listening to our bodies. I have often wondered about our body’s gifts to talk to us through the sensations, visual flow, and emotions and how our bodies hold wisdom. Our body is the place of deep learning and is available to us when we are ready.
The body continues to speak to us without any inhibition only when we listen. This slow process of listening calls for compassion, presence, and gratitude without any attachments. When we become our sensations, our emotions, and our thinking, we start to suffer. We often get entangled within the binaries of how I am feeling (positive or negative) and how I should be feeling, between the entanglement of being the body or being the mind.
It is the moment when we stop listening and get swayed by the stories we start to create, and it starts to feel like being away from the body. This moment of being away from the body, calls to simply acknowledge what is instead of expecting it to be something we have read or learned from someone. We can simply start by exploring, what is around me that thrives my soul? What are my resources to get back to what is, instead of searching for something that is not present? This process of acknowledging the presence of what is not feeding the soul and what is thriving the soul is a dance of deep gratitude, vulnerability, and deep acceptance.
Let’s take a pause, and notice, listen to what you are listening to at this moment! Listen to your body without becoming the body. Anna Halprin gave this prompt, “If your body could speak, what would the body say? "
In our Contemplation and Meditation class on Tuesdays (5.30pm pst / 7.30pm cst), we are taking a journey to listen to our soul and slowly making our way to unpack, uncover, or perhaps pack and cover various elements that make us ask, who am I and how am I? We are looking at seven steps to explore what calls our attention or our soul’s journey. This month we will be finishing these seven steps towards deep listening. I have adapted these steps from various teachers of mine and from my own traditional contemplative practices. I call them pathways. They are:
Thorns and Edges?
Cultivating an empty space
Repetition and Rhythms
Openness and the beginner’s mind, and
Each of these steps is circular in nature and one can enter the journey with any step, however, it calls for a regular practice of listening. These steps are tiny meditations that invite us to look within and listen. All these meditations are designed to help facilitate a deeper journey into our mind-body wisdom. You are invited to listen to your bodies, a little shift in the body indicates a shift in the mind and vice-versa. What are you experiencing, what are you listening to? I personally invite you to come practice with us. Sign up for class tonight here.