Hearing and Listening: Feeling is Really Listening

At 40, my hearing is regarded as perfect. But have I spent my life really listening?

I have realised that I spent most of my life hearing only what I chose to hear – an impediment that arose out of my choices, those same choices that also, as it happens, affected my eyes when I chose to ‘see’ only that which I wanted to ‘see’.

The relationship between the two senses was not always apparent. The sympathetic and correlating self-imposed limitation of the two senses was in fact the consequent result of another impediment; the avoidance of allowing myself to feel what I was already, at a deeper level, naturally feeling.

It was only through developing a willingness to allow myself to feel, that came with that a deeper understanding, that in turn reveals what is there to really hear. When my hearing is not filtered by habitual reactions I am able to listen and understand what there is to feel – and thereby cease to substitute that fear of feeling with noise of distracting activity.

By this choice to open up and allow this level of realisation, I was offered by that willingness to being open, the opportunity to really ‘hear’… that is, to hear by feeling with my natural expression without fastening onto the altered residual echo of the distorted reception of the distracting activity.

Feeling and hearing are not always readily associated senses, at least not in the strictest sense of the word. Vibrations are of course a feature of sound and can be felt. When I allow myself to feel and hear, it simply opens up a truth – a truth I have at times practiced hard to avoid. For me, there is an immense sense of loss in knowing that I have not connected to or met others in my true expression. Instead I sought to communicate out of and through my habits, beliefs and fears – and not out of what my body and senses were revealing to me.

In this regard and by that measure, most of us are afflicted with the inability to really feel and therefore communicate. It was therefore a big shock to realise that I was only using my senses to react to my environment and that my communication was merely used as a method of ensuring that I remained shrouded in that generally accepted feedback loop otherwise known as ‘socialising’: that group creation and often false space which feels comfortable simply because others are also there providing that recognition, comfort, acceptance and the apparent security found amongst the company of others… the collective and erroneous belief that the capture group is the ‘best’ or ‘right’ group.

… Until this illusion was shattered for me! Undone without any great difficulty. And all it took was a level of trusting that connection with myself. It was with Universal Medicine that I was reintroduced to the connection that I have always known. That is, I already knew and had always known what it is to feel and understand and really listen…

Up until this time I had chosen to trust the outer influence over that Inner Knowing – I allowed a division of the self by separating the feeling from the listening and so avoided truly hearing, and this can never stand because that division requires outer reinforcing by way of identifying with the distracting activities. For me, losing trust in feeling the self is the same as abandoning the self – it cannot be reconciled – it must be reclaimed.

Those times of anxiety that I had felt in social interactions that I had railed against were in fact the very things that were prompting me to feel. The anxiety was a tension, alerting me to the fact that I had separated from living my essence of who I am. For me to be really listening with that aware, attentive, receptive communication merely required stillness of presence. And Presence means exactly that – being present in and with my body – and never shrinking from that awareness. In this way I have then been challenged to honestly look at the heavily invested beliefs and ideal constructs that form my perceptions.

It is only through feeling that I can paint an honest self-portrait – warts and all! For me the process has merely been a stepping out from the shadows and leaving behind what is not truly part of me. I know that I am infinitely more than a mere reflection of my environment; I can now see that I’m not the adopted emotions and behaviours that I have been living with. I can reclaim that space I abandoned when I withdrew from my real expression.

I have started to really listen and truly hear without the anxiety that I once had of being lesser, or that arrogance of being greater, because that space, time and energy given over to the need for recognition or comparison has been reclaimed – or rather, it is no longer required. I need only feel to know a truth because by first understanding through listening reveals truth – much faster than seeking understanding through the slow process of acquired and therefore dated knowledge.

Instead of communicating from a choice to express, I observe that many of us have become puppets to a mass market; communicated to collectively, through a media that advertises instructions on how one should feel, what one should believe in and on what is normal (for the fashionable now). For example, our news seeks more to stir up reactions than it does to inform on actual events or encourage open discourse, and the young are fed instruction on style and behaviours that promote and benefit the consumer markets.

There is a discovery to be made; without choosing to first feel, there is only the appearance of choice. Situations where individual feelings are left to a collective and fashionable emotional response, where those responses are made without feelings, are merely derivatives.

It is in this way that the cause and effect are reversed, because when we feed from this global menu of stimulation, with its predictable reactions and encouraged addictions, habits and belief constructs, our interactions then amount to nothing more than an attempt at avoiding what it is to feel. And that is not living, it is cutting off at the source our individual gift of expressing uniquely.

We are now, most of us sadly not expressing in any unique way; many of us have instead become clichés – predictable, manageable, exploitable and ordinary. We have, for the most part, chosen to uphold collective false ideals that serve and seek to benefit none but those who profit from those beliefs: we have allowed ourselves – our essence – to be driven by external needs and to be valued only by our external deeds.

We may be hearing – but are we really listening?

By E. Walsh, Australia

Related Reading:
‘Seeing is Believing’ and ‘Believing is Seeing’

194 thoughts on “Hearing and Listening: Feeling is Really Listening

  1. Thank you E. Walsh for sharing, am I really listening, the key is to be present with my body in all my interactions and really feel from there.

  2. Some tremendous observations on how we have left our true senses in favour of a collective default. I loved your take on ‘socialising’ – ‘that group creation and often false space which feels comfortable simply because others are also there providing that recognition, comfort, acceptance and the apparent security found amongst the company of others’.

  3. In choosing not to listen to what I was feeling and seeing in front of me I did not need to acknowledge my part in creating the situation and the lack of responsibility I was comfortable in maintaining. Now I am learning to take responsibility and to trust how my body is feeling which is building my awareness to understand the truth of what is there to be felt.

  4. this is pretty awesome to read, and I feel I am coming to this awareness more and more lately. That so many things I do or want to see or hear are coming from my own need for recognition to be seen. And this isn’t the truth, as the truth is there for all, no one excluded. It is not individual it is coming from the one source that we all come from, getting this understanding and learning to see that all is not for me as an individual but for everyone.

  5. I agree that many of us have ‘become puppets to a mass market’ that keeps many intertwined in drama, emotion and succumbing to ‘being told’ what to do. This is a cop out and not truly living – and definitely not something that inspires me as I know I and others are so much more.

  6. Thank you for spelling out so clearly that unless we make the choice to connect to what we are really feeling then we are limited in what we can hear and therefore listen to. Although there appears to be a lot of communication going on in the current world much of it is empty of true feeling and therefore very few are really hearing or listening to each other and we are all the poorer because of this.

  7. “I was only using my senses to react to my environment and that my communication was merely used as a method of ensuring that I remained shrouded in that generally accepted feedback loop otherwise known as ‘socialising’” – this is so brilliantly put, and I so agree with you. There is this silent agreement where we hold each other down not to awaken from the reprieve of comfort.

  8. Thank you E.Walsh for sharing, this really is what life is all about “For me to be really listening with that aware, attentive, receptive communication merely required stillness of presence. And Presence means exactly that – being present in and with my body – and never shrinking from that awareness. “

  9. “And that is not living, it is cutting off at the source our individual gift of expressing uniquely.”
    By striving for sameness in the outer we have lost our connection to the inner which, the inner, confirms in us the equalness that we are, uniquely expressing as a part of the whole.

  10. Hearing with our bodies is so much more inclusive and comprehensive. It is not just what was said but how was it said. Words need the body to confirm and connect. Words alone is just noise.

  11. Being present in and with a quality of connection from our body brings us the clarity and awareness to truly listen and discern whether what we are feeling is the truth of what we are seeing and hearing and from which we naturally know how to respond.

  12. It is interesting how our choices can influence and impact how we listen and hear life without fully understanding or truly listening to what is before us to be aware of. If we listen to how our body is truly feeling it communicates and guides us in how to handle any situation we face.

  13. I love the point about the news. “our news seeks more to stir up reactions than it does to inform on actual events or encourage open discourse”. I have started to realise that underneath the surface, all the media is about is control and manipulation of us all, never about informing us or prompting a debate. We need a new media not in it for profit, control and manipulation so that we can slowly expunge ourselves of the media barons who do nothing for us but everything for themselves.

  14. It is truly important to understand that when we do not express from our inner most, we actually react to what is brought to us in a way we have learned how to give the expected and desirable response.

  15. Hearing and seeing from the heart has the steadiness and consistency that is not part of simply hearing and seeing via that one sense alone. By including the heart in my perception of life I know I can allow myself full information rather than only what has been filtered through either the ears or the eyes.

  16. “For me to be really listening with that aware, attentive, receptive communication merely required stillness of presence. And Presence means exactly that – being present in and with my body – and never shrinking from that awareness.”
    Thank-you for your words here E. Walsh. You expose how greatly we’ve dulled and shirked away from the awareness we naturally have – choosing instead a lesser way of expressing ourselves and ‘taking in’ all that we perceive around us. And to what avail?
    We are so much more… and your call to truly listen and embrace all the awareness available to us is one that is deeply needed.

  17. With the plethora of bombardments we are exposed to every day – from media sources, music, visual imagery and so much more – it actually blows me away that we are yet capable, if we choose to reconnect to the stillness and depth of presence that is ever there awaiting within us, of expressing in truth. And a truth that is universal.
    The keys to being truly present with oneself and embracing a foundational relationship with one’s own essence, as shared by Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine, have been invaluable in this regard – they have changed and re-opened my perceptions in life, and continue to this day and will do far beyond…
    It is our birthright to be so open and aware. Our commitment to expressing what is of our own true natures, and thereby in harmony with all, is what our world desperately needs for us to rise out of the lost morass of empty expression that populates our airwaves, our media, and our ‘everyday’ and bring the richness, joy and truth we are actually all capable of.

  18. “Without choosing to first feel, there is only the appearance of choice” – this is such a great reminder. So true – how we deceive ourselves with the appearance of choice, and that is all because we are limiting ourselves from the infinite that is actually available to us, and I can feel how we equate the known as the comfort, and become hesitant to surrender to the unknown.

  19. We often hear only what we want to. It is hard not to get caught up in sensation and taken off on a tangent that takes us away from the truth of who we are and why we are here.

  20. It’s like we get a set of comfortable beliefs and a way of being that doesn’t rock any boats and we then only hear what supports that narrow view. I remember when I was young, being angry and dissatisfied with the way I saw people were living in the world and I feel that this was why. Then I seemed to join them. There is so much more to being in this world and so much more to our expression. The key is to listen and be open to what it is possible to hear and see.

  21. “Those times of anxiety that I had felt in social interactions that I had railed against were in fact the very things that were prompting me to feel. The anxiety was a tension, alerting me to the fact that I had separated from living my essence of who I am.” and that there is more there to be explored should we stop and allow that. I have had that anxious feeling many times in situations with others and it has always been because what I am feeling may be different to what I am seeing/hearing (eg, someone being nice when you can feel they are angry therefore not genuine) and instead of expressing what I am feeling I have abandoned myself through not trusting what I have felt and what my body is telling me.

  22. ‘ I need only feel to know a truth because by first understanding through listening reveals truth’. We are feeling and reading all of the time, but not totally aware of this fact because it automatically happens. What I am learning to do is to express what I am feeling/reading, then I have more clarity of what I have felt or read.

  23. It all comes back to the energy we are choosing and aligning too: spirit or Soul that will influence what we see and hear. Each produce 2 very, very different views, thoughts, feelings, and movements….

  24. When we come from our emotions, habits and beliefs we get caught up in the falsity of these emotions, when we stay present with and feel the bodies truth it is presented in its purity without identification or investment.

  25. Wow. E. Walsh. This is very much a stop moment as I come to the end of your blog.
    A stop to consider and evaluate the many changes I have made in my life when it comes to truly listening. But most af all a moment to stop and feel the potential of true listening that I am capable of. That which I have a sense of, a stop moment to fully accept that to have had the sense of potential is in fact a moment to truly discern why I have not choosen this to be my normal, and the gift of knowing exactly what is needed to make this sense the foundation of how I live.

  26. There is so much of heaven to be heard when we stop and truly listen. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and certain parts really stand out, it may be a few words, but it is very clearly a message from heaven sharing something for you to look at in your life / life.

  27. ‘But have I spent my life really listening?’ We could take this much deeper and ask the same question ‘Have I spent my life really listening to my body?

  28. ‘most of us are afflicted with the inability to really feel and therefore communicate.’ I wouldn’t say we are afflicted with the inability to not feel, this is not true, we can all feel – we have simply chosen a lack of responsibility not to.

  29. When we tune in to the ears of the heart we discover what we have always been feeling but choosing not to be aware of.

  30. We have all been there, not connecting to others in the truth of our expression, but this realization is gold. Which just means we can start right now and re-correct our momentum to be different. Expression is the best way to learn non-investment, as its true purpose is simply to express in truth and love without expectation.

  31. When I hold back in expressing myself in reaction to the other person not wanting to hear or be swayed to shut up from the reflections of being shut out, I am first and foremost disrespecting myself, therefore all behaviors that happen from this choice would be dishonoring to others too.

  32. This is such a great question- are we hearing or really listening as the difference is immense. We have become so adept at multi tasking that many of us listen to another while actually doing something else -I find myself doing this but will be so much more aware now. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  33. Hearing what we want to hear – and I would add – seeing only what we want to see. Thanks for this post EW. It is common knowledge that ask two or three witnesses to a ‘crime’ and they all report a different description and version. We may believe we are being honest, but are we truthful?

  34. What is highlighted here is that it is our choices that directly impact our awareness and what we choose to see or not that keeps us either in separation or impulses us to evolve.

  35. “We are now, most of us sadly not expressing in any unique way; many of us have instead become clichés – predictable, manageable, exploitable and ordinary. We have, for the most part, chosen to uphold collective false ideals that serve and seek to benefit none but those who profit from those beliefs: we have allowed ourselves – our essence – to be driven by external needs and to be valued only by our external deeds.”
    How so very true and exposing of just how responsible we all at for the state we find our world in. To speak against the tide is not easy, but it is super necessary if we want to see changes in our world.

  36. We are naturally able to feel everything on a deeper level however in not wanting to feel certain things I have realised that in choosing to block out that feeling we do not have to be consciously aware of it and in not feeling, eliminate taking responsibility for dealing with things that we know we should be doing.

  37. From early age, we learn to use our body (and senses) to let in the portion that suits us and to protect and numb ourselves against those that do not suit the picture. Of course, the accepted portion is then labeled ‘reality’. It is this selected picture that then governs our understanding and actions. All come to us. The all come to us all the time. We choose to reduce it to what we are comfortable to call the all; our own version of it.

  38. Yes. We can all feel life, it just depends if we’re willing to listen to what’s going on. And from my experience that means trusting what I’m feeling and not overriding it with thoughts. I like what you say about stillness, so true. In that stillness we can really open ourselves to feel.

  39. This is such a wake up call if we choose not to feel then of course we’ve already fashioned our senses to hear and see what we want or to fit into an image or ideal that we’ve bought into. We cannot truly see or hear if we do not fully feel, and to feel is to allow ourselves to embrace the awareness we have and to live and to live in a way that ensures we actually honour it. Otherwise we’re indeed at the mercy of what we are told, and this is not true choice; in fact the truth is if we choose not to feel we are choosing to be led, we are choosing to be irresponsible, and to be directed by the ‘choices’ we are given.

  40. This is absolutely brilliant EW and something I have been long working on. Thank you for the reminder. It is interesting because the more aware I become the more aware of how unaware I am or have been. Equally, the more I listen and see the more I hear and see and that exposes to me just how much I have not been hearing and seeing and how I am still only choosing to see and hear the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is truly there and available.

  41. The process you have embarked on of stepping out of the shadows to leave behind what is not truly you and reclaim the space you abandoned when you withdrew from your real expression is deeply inspiring and a development we all need to embrace… for the latter only leaves us a puppet of our environment and in denial of our true potential.

  42. It is quite a shock at first to become aware of just how much all of us are puppets and not truly seeing or hearing what is before us. When we start to open our ears and eyes there is in fact a whole other dimension and world of understanding available.

  43. It is a great freedom to hear and see what is truly going on. It is also very healing for the other person to be truly met, seen and heard as it is something we rarely do with ourselves or each others.

  44. When we have any identification, hurts, reactions, ideals, beliefs, survival needs or attachment to outcome in a situation we cannot see, hear, smell or taste what is truly before us. Letting go of and healing our issues and being there for all equally are key steps in regaining our true hearing and vision.

    1. I agree Nicola, these are all the filters through which we experience the world and get in the way of us truly feeling what is in front of us. The image I have is of two ponds, one muddy, the other clear. Truly healing and releasing past hurt is the only way to transform the first into the second.

  45. You have brilliantly exposed that trap we have so often fallen for – our quest for individuality which actually leads us to draw from a pool of predetermined and controlled consciousness, so we end up existing in a way that is not individual at all. From here what we see and hear is processed through our disconnected minds serving only to continue and satisfy our quest for individuality. Through our choice to not feel, to not be in connection with our stillness, our essence, our bodies we disconnect from that which allows us to know the truth. For it is through our connection to our inner-hearts we can sense the truth of any situation and know that this truth is in fact universal. As from here we then see, listen and respond through our bodies with unique yet universal quality that represents the truth of who we all are in essence.

  46. Recently I was at an Esoteric Yoga session and noticed how my hearing would blank out momentarily even though I was right there wide awake and I was wondering why this was happening – especially Esoteric Yoga primarily being about connecting and listening to one’s body. Your observation and sharing here feels very apt for me right now. So the question for me is – what am I avoiding feeling?

  47. We only get out what we put in is loosely a term I have heard over the years that I never really related to life and yet here it is. As the article is saying, “We may be hearing – but are we really listening?” or what part are we listening too? There is so much sound around us, some not audible in the usual way as everything makes a sound even complete silence still has a sound, listen next time you have it. For me this proves that energy has a sound, a very defiant sound and yet we settle to hear only part of what is there. Once we choose that part then this controls our lives, our choices and our listening quality. We would like to blame all manner of things for how life is and yet here we have our choices controlling how life is. We are in this more then we care to remember and be aware of, nothing gets past us, we see, hear and feel everything it’s just how much we listen that controls the next part.

  48. It’s far easier to think that life just happens to us, rather than take responsibility for the choices we make that affect our lives – yet there’s always a choice to open up, to hear and see more of what’s going on around us. Doing so means that we need to drop our guard and let people in – and let go of the hurts that might be standing in the way of this – but is so worth it, as life becomes far richer and more beautiful.

  49. What a great expression ‘ Feeling is really listening.’ In other words we listen with our whole body not just our ears or mind. When we use our mind to filter what we hear we become mind listeners: the worst kind and means we’ve dis-connected (switched off) from ourselves and another person. I’m learning to discern between ‘ feeling what I know is true’ and ‘thinking I know all there is to know’

  50. Being honest with ourselves opens our awareness to feeling and listening our body. There is much we can learn and evolve from in developing this natural quality as it truly supports us to see and feel everything that is there before us.

  51. For sure E. Walsh, when we do not listen with our inner heart, we are at the mercy of the interpreting mind that allows us to hear only part of the truth and with that is masking its irresponsible way of living.

  52. What a powerful blog. We cannot truly hear if we have not claimed back all that we are. Part of hearing is our clairsentience, if this part has no authority in our body and has been pushed to the side, how are we use our bodies true intelligence to receive the truth of what is before us.

  53. Such a powerful blog E. Walsh, you expose beautifully how we don’t truly listen and we cloud what we hear with our own stuff. Learning to listen with the whole body is a game changer and allows us to observe another speaking without our own mind chatter getting in the way and this allows for a deeper connection where we can simply feel the truth and express this more openly.

  54. It is interesting how adept we can become at only hearing what we want to hear, and being able to not listen to everything that is being said, we choose to either check out at those moments or just turn a deaf ear. I have now begun to understand the importance of listening to another and particularly the tone in which it is delivered.

  55. Listening fully takes a commitment to detachment, to not being engaged from a sense of making it all about you, really listening takes understanding and a choice to see the bigger picture and the picture behind the picture.

  56. After a week of having a blocked ear after reading this I feel there is so much more I could be hearing by connecting more to my feelings. I have for a long time and still do these days have an internal radio playing and this perception that I can’t handle my feelings. But in reading “I can reclaim that space I abandoned when I withdrew from my real expression.” I am starting to understand that this playing small and fearful is not needed. This will take time to practice but thank you for the inspiration.

  57. It’s interesting that when you scratch the surface and start to observe your own behaviour, how much is revealed. I have up until recently been a very literal listener. I would only pay attention to the words, but since allowing myself to feel more, there is so much more going on than the words, and often they don’t match with what the person is saying. Saying what I feel is relatively new but I’m getting better at it as I practice.

  58. One thing I have become adept at over the years is very quickly ignoring anything said that makes me feel uncomfortable. Its a lightening response but I am catching myself more often these days and then giving myself a moment to feel if a response is needed. It is sometimes a tad delayed but the more present I am with my body, the less delay there is.

  59. Am I really listening, is a great question to ponder on, and I agree,’For me to be really listening with that aware, attentive, receptive communication merely required stillness of presence. And Presence means exactly that – being present in and with my body – and never shrinking from that awareness.’

  60. Fabulous E.Walsh. You present how big everything is. Everything is not made up of just what it is we see – a ‘rushed reality’ to cover up the truth – hearing what is wanted to be seen – an already pre-prescribed picture giving to us what we signed for. Until we truly listen will we truly see.

  61. ‘Feeling is Really Listening’ – So true E.Walsh, as we deepen our feeling senses we are listening to to wisdom our body holds.

  62. Presence is essential if we choose to truly listen, great question to ponder on, ‘We may be hearing – but are we really listening?’

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