There is a saying in the Zen tradition, “When you drink tea, just drink tea. When you eat, just eat.” The essence of this wisdom is ‘presence’, ‘awareness’. In our context today, I will paraphrase it as, “When you listen, just listen.”
Listening is a divine art. It is the sacred portal through which the vibrations of the universe communicate with you. It’s not only about auditory signals; it’s about being present, fully absorbed, completely in sync with the rhythm of the moment. You’re not just watching life, you’re actively living it. However, once the music stops, once you’ve finished listening, there comes a moment when you can’t go on listening.
This moment of pause, the cessation of listening, is a profound junction. It is not a full stop, but a semi-colon; the flow of wisdom has not ended, it is just transforming. It is transitioning from passive reception to active implementation. When you cross the boundary from listening to not listening, you move from the realm of intake to the domain of action.
However, this journey isn’t always comfortable. More often than not, what we listen to can bring discomfort, especially when it comes to criticism or teachings that challenge our established beliefs and notions. Our ego resists, building barriers against the incoming wave of change. We tend to procrastinate, to delay the uncomfortable transformation that our conscious mind knows is beneficial for us.
Procrastination, is a thief. It is a thief that robs us of the present, replacing it with promises of an indefinite tomorrow. But the truth is, there is no tomorrow for the one who refuses to exist in the now.
Yet the beauty of our existence lies in our capacity to change, to adapt, to grow. It lies in our capability to face discomfort and to transform it into a stepping stone towards evolution. There is a world of difference between merely hearing and deeply listening. Hearing is a physical process, while listening is an active engagement of the mind. When we listen consciously, we create a space within us, a receptive state where we are open to accepting new ideas, fresh perspectives, and unfamiliar insights.
It is crucial to understand that the purpose of criticism or teachings is not to demean or belittle you. Rather, it serves as a mirror, reflecting your image in a light you might not have seen before. And when you start to look at this reflection, when you discern the unfamiliar, you empower yourself to be your own sculptor, chiselling away the rough edges to reveal a masterpiece.
So, when you receive criticism or teachings, do not shy away. Instead, lean into the discomfort, knowing that it is an opportunity for growth. Don’t just listen – understand, reflect, and act. The wisdom of the universe is not to be kept in the library of the mind, but to be lived, to be experienced in the laboratory of life.
Remember, the echo of the words you listen to fades away with time, but the actions you execute in response to them leave footprints in the sands of your journey. The path of spiritual growth is not for the faint-hearted, but for the brave who dare to transcend their perceived limitations. Listen consciously, act decisively, and embrace change willingly.
This is the art of conscious living.