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
‘Seeing is Believing’ and ‘Believing is Seeing’