Have you ever sat outside at dusk as the wind is gaining courage, swiftly flowing through tall grass and rustling the leaves of trees?
Have you simply sat and listened? Memorizing every beat, following nature’s melody.
Listening is truly one of the most incredible gifts of life. It allows us to live outside of our body, it allows us to get to know other people’s stories, and it fills us with boundless knowledge.
So often in the chaos of modern life we forget to genuinely listen to people. We forget to ask people simple questions and then listen intently to their answers. Each one of us has a unique story, a history of experiences that have molded us into the people we are right this moment. The more we listen to one another, the more we communicate our own truth, the more progress can be made.
When we listen, judgment fades away.
When we listen, we are forced to see the world from various perspectives.
When we listen, we are moved.
As you listen to another being, be it a stranger, your partner or a friend make sure you are studying their eyes. Watch their movements, their inflections. Listen not only with your ears but with all your senses. Take interest in every word flowing from their lips. Ask questions, elaborate and then continue to listen to the sweet sound of their voice.
It is in these moments, caught up in someone else’s story, that we begin to understand life. We are so incredibly small and our own existence so meaningless without being intertwined with others. Our friends, our family, our lovers, the person we don’t yet know on the train with a beautiful smile, all of these connections are what make us whole.
They make us stronger, they teach us to rise.
What they have to say, what every person and animal has to say matters. The sound of the wind, the crashing of the waves, the crackling of a fire all of it becomes woven into our very essence.
Just as reading leads to discovery, so does listening.
The next time you are grocery shopping or visiting your local farmers market, slow down, ask questions, and get to know someone new. Ask your favorite farmer about his land, his favorite food, what it’s like rising at dawn every day to nourish the plants that depend on him.
At the grocery store ask the person checking you out how their day is going, and mean it. Look in their eyes and show that you care and you want to hear what they have to say. If you stop to give a meal to someone in needs, or spare a dollar for an organization, don’t just end there. Talk to them and hear their story.
To be acknowledged and to be heard is incredibly important for mental health and wellbeing. So often with technology and social media we pour out our souls but don’t always feel heard. We need that in the flesh human connection, we need to hear voices and see eyes change as the sun falls beneath the ocean.
Let us always stop and simply listen.
Let us never tired in the pursuit of compassion, knowledge and betterment.
– Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez